The Cuntocracy William Clark Why not call the present political system a ‘cuntocracy’? This is not, as it might seem, just a reaction to the advent of someone as painfully fraudulent as Nick Clegg. We need a new name for not just what the political class do to us because of greed and stupidity; we need a term that advances the idea of social organisation as something innate in people. It should combine a description of the reality of our place in such a society with an accurate discription of the nature of the society. Cuntocracy describes the reality.1 By calling our society a cuntocracy we return power to the ordinary people; we give the people a voice, a simple way for them to talk back to those who pose as leaders but take us nowhere. And we offer a meaningful contribution to David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’. What are our base assumptions? Well, there is probably only one ‘law’ that we could say social science ‘discovered’ and this seems to have been engendered by sheer flippancy. This is Lord Acton’s statement (in a letter to a Bishop) that all power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. No one has thought to extrapolate our one law to establish its social determinants. We can adapt Acton’s Law into: all power tends to create cunts and absolute power creates total cunts. If power and cunthood are thus implacably entwined they form a metaphysical pathos: an inescapable trap of cuntification awaits anyone seeking power. This trap 1 To clarify: the use of it contains a critique which evinces a sublimated but key feature of society, in that we 'innately' order and structure society — character determines social structure. If we grasp this as a process and study it we can gain some sort of understanding of how society is shaped and how we are shaped by it, and it is bad news. gives rise to a functional rationality: the cuntocracy. Max Weber’s concept of the inescapable ‘Iron Shell of Bureaucracy,’ or Marx’s ‘Barbarism’ as the incurable ‘leper of civilisation’ point to its social psychology.2 If mention of ‘capitalism’ is always off the agenda, so that its effects on society can always be ignored or obfuscated, then we are being tacitly urged to switch to something else, something we can see everyday and everywhere: a cuntocracy. Who would need a lengthy theoretical excursus into the reality of a cuntocracy when they daily encounter the activities of every bureaucracy, or have recently spoken to their boss, or flicked through a few television channels and caught sight of George Osborne saying something? So, given our present system of rewarding the wealthy for robbing the poor, it is vital that its reality is reflected in a terminological exactitude open to every citizen: other terms lack cuntocracy’s profound poetic grace.3 Most of them have come up with nothing particularly useful, but sociologists tell us that they have laboured away to arrive at an account of why our society is the way it is. Let us leave them to it, and, with one term, state who is in control, as much as it can be said anyone is in control, and how they pull off the con. The advantage of ‘cuntocracy’ is that it does all the sociological work for us. But there is a problem here: sociologists make a living sublimating the ways of the powerful, so that people comply with directives from ‘above’. We are reversing this process. For academics, ‘society’ has to remain something of a perpetual mystery, although we know that they know which side of their bread is buttered. Yes, there are writers who have uncovered the existence of a cuntocracy and the ways of the powerful, but they are 2 See Arthur Mitzman, The Iron Cage: An Historical Interpretation of Max Weber, (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1970). In Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills, From Max Weber (London: Routledge, 1946) pp. 41-42, after World War I, Weber basically called Ludendorff a useless fat cunt who should be hung. 3 It should be pointed out that the term is drawn from the UK’s northern urban demotic and the linguistic properties thereof. Those offended by it could easily replace it with ‘cantocracy,’ given that this might be the way some pronounce it anyway. outcasts. Their work is totally unwanted because it reveals that the cuntocratic world has certainly been made by cunts, and its principles are therefore to be found within the modifications of these cunts’ mind. Universities are there to hide knowledge using a sophisticated form of administrative pedagogical cuntocracy that involves the selection and employment of ignorant, lazy cuntocrats to run a system reproducing the cunnus quo at the expense of any encouragement of an awareness of it. But a system based on bribery and compliance should be perfectly amenable for our purposes of selling the term, normalising it. Antecedents If we have to convince the intellectuals so that they can aid us spread the word, we can start by examining the theorists on whom the principles of the cuntocracy are clearly dependent: those who advanced being a ‘total cunt’ as a desirable condition. In the rest of this essay we will draft this out. A good start would be Robert Michels’ the ‘iron law of oligarchy’, that explained how nature has determined that whatever the top cunts say goes. It might well be wayward gibberish, but the chances are that it, and the theorists he uses to back it up, will offer us a chance to find enough other cuntologists to provide the thing that proves things to intellectuals: the academic citation. For example, Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca could be plundered to offer evidence of the ‘circulation of cunts’. Surely too, there must be reams of it in James Burnham; but here we are only talking about neo-Machiavellianism mixed with people’s desperate desire not to be thought of as a communist. We should go back to the timeless master, Niccolo Machiavelli here. Would not The Cunt have made a better title than The Prince? Some readers may be of the opinion that making up such a terms is meaningless. What idiot would fall for something as obtuse as this? What half-wit would take it seriously and start using it? Well the word ‘meritocracy’ was invented by Michael Young in his (1958) satirical book The Rise of the Meritocracy. Young’s joke was that the meritocratic class had gained a monopoly on ‘merit’ and got together with the symbols and designators of merit, to perpetuate its own power, status, and privilege. He wrote to the Guardian in 2001 pointing this out when Tony Blair started prominently using it as part of running the country — to define what our society should be like.4 So it should be relatively easy for someone to drop ‘cuntocracy’ into some dreary ramble once conference time comes round again. So what is the cuntocracy? Is it a class or an elite? Who are the cuntocrats? How does it work? Class, it should be remembered, is not real as such, it is something people do to one and other, it is an interaction, the way you are treated. We will all have a barrage of suggestions as to what the main cuntocratic institutions are, but the cuntocracy is not limited to bureaucracies: these are the reflection of the political institutions that empower them to act. This is why bureaucracies are run by cunts who find themselves saying: ‘I don’t make the rules.’ This bureaucratic adoption of a functional rationality also extends into a de facto code of silence that contributes to the practice of the cuntocracy hiding its actions: any crisis that threatens the cuntocracy or its important members triggers a closing of ranks to protect it from outside scrutiny, interference, and legal oversight. They form certain contours of the cuntocracy, but class and bureaucracy are not the cuntocracy. When the cunts who ‘do not make the rules’ go home they only enter into a wider cuntocratic realm of which they too are at the mercy of. Franz Kafka worked in an insurance company; this was where he got his ideas.5 Books such as Amoral Politics, outline thousands of years of experience to support the idea that political institutions are fundamentally amoral and constitute a cuntocracy.6 This 4 See . 5 Fiction, such as Kafka’s The Trial, or Huxley’s Brave New World, have ran ahead of us, with characters who sense that they have no effective defence against the cuntocracy that runs the World. Both works could quite easily have been re-titled: Brave New Cuntocracy, or Brought before the Cunts. Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, could easily have been called Cuntocratic Cooking. 6 Ben-Ami Scharfstein, Amoral Politics: The Persistent Truth of Machiavellism, (Albany: University of New York Press, 1995). ‘bureaucratic amorality’ is basically the Nazis’ claim that they could not be held personally responsible because they had a legal duty to achieve politically empowered tasks to the exclusion of anything else: either they were following orders or the law, or did not know the consequences of their actions. But they were still total cunts.7 Possibly the Nazis were the cuntocracy par excellence, but we will have to play this down as just an example. We are going to need to put it on solid (i.e. more acceptable) theoretical grounds. The underlying meta-cuntocratic principle The difficulty of tracking the exact origin of something can be obviated quite simply: we simply provide our own mythology; people are a lot more willing to go along with myths rather than waste time finding out facts. If a trick works once it might just work again. One overlooked aspect of F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (the book Margaret Thatcher slapped the table with saying that it had taken over her mind) is in a short section called ‘Why the Worst Get on Top’, where it is argued that the most amorally flexible people involved in a bureaucracy tend to rise to the top and become its leaders.8 Hayek pretended he was writing on ‘totalitarianism’, something he largely invented to roll the Soviets, Nazis and socialists into one; but bureaucracies are much the same everywhere, and it is clear from the examples he uses that we are also talking about capitalism here, too. But in this mélange, does not Hayek accidentally point to the underlying metacuntocratic principle underlying most societies? He also points to bureaucracies as not integral to it, but just perfectly suited to helping the unprincipled attain positions of influence and power because a lack of scruples gives them an advantage in advancing their careers. As Hayek puts it: ‘…the probability of the people in power being individuals who would dislike the possession and exercise of power 7 Hans Sherrer ‘The Inhumanity of Government Bureaucracies,’ The Independent Review, pp. 249-264, . 8 Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944) pp. 148–67. is on a level with the probability that an extremely tender-hearted person would get the job of whippingmaster in a slave plantation.’9 So for Hayek, there is a gradient in society that makes it inclined towards certain proclivities. For those who have not read Hayek (and indeed for his followers) it should be clarified that this whipping-master job is, for our purposes, not so much an aspiration: it is being ambiguously presented as an analogy, rather than seen as the be-all-and-end-all, as it was taken in Enoch Powell’s famous speech on which race should have the ‘whip hand’ in the cuntocracy. Here Powell was advancing what we could term an ‘Athenian cuntocracy.’ If we try to define our conception of ‘cuntocracy’ for the academics, we can also cite the belief that bureaucracies are forms of kakistocracy: government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens known to humanity. This is a cat’s whisker away from our conception of cuntocracy and even sounds worse. Beneath the mask For Hayek, government bureaucracies, as the agencies of the cuntocracy, depend on an unreflective wielding of the power made available to their administrators: a ‘truthless’ rather than a ‘ruthless’ willingness to wield an agency’s power is an occupational requirement for someone to rise to the upper echelons of the cuntocracy.10 But our argument is that it must be a bit of both since both seem components of a larger enduring system. The attraction of power-hungry people to positions of authority in a bureaucracy will have consequences for everyone affected. So the cuntocracy must wear a benign mask at times — in our present world the whipping-masters 9 Hayek, ibid, p. 152. It escaped Hayek that it is possible that a tender-hearted person might have gained the job so as not to carry it out, operating under a pretence. Hayek’s assumption is that whippingmasters like their job, are thus dedicated and good at it and not mindlessly flailing: this is an uncharacteristically heroic vision of the working class. 10 Ibid. pp. 159–67. must have a euphemistic job description. Power-oriented people mask their control via such entities as ‘indicative planning’ or ‘performativity’. Here bureaucracies can freely express inhumane prejudices, a bit like Tony Blair’s use of meritocracy and ‘God’. Government bureaucracies do not think, only individuals do that; but bureaucracies tell them not to. Thus some bureaucracies are said to be the institutional equivalent of a psychopathic individual.11 Our concept of the cuntocracy is a contribution to what Ashley Montagu called the last century’s ‘dehumanisation syndrome’.12 In our mission to win over the intellectuals we will need to throw in some kind of an academic dichotomy, the perpetual discussion of which will keep them in business. Robert Merton noted the importance of discerning the difference between manifest and latent functions, and we can paraphrase the hell out of him here. A distinction between a manifest and latent cuntocracy could be devised to stop (and indeed start) the inadvertent confusion between conscious motivations for cuntocracy and its objective consequences. In other words: do cunts actually try to bring about a cuntocracy or does it just seem that way? Is it because we identify motives with functions and confuse the subjective categories of motivation with the objective categories of function?13 You get the idea. Hopefully that one can run as long as the Miliband-Poulantzas debate (still raging). One thing is for sure: any self-disrespecting cuntocrat will tell others what to do. There is no way we are getting bogged down in all that semiotic linguistic guff, so we will say that the cuntocracy uses what C. Wright Mills called a ‘vocabulary of motive.’14 Rather than expressing something 11 Gilles Amado, ‘Why Psychoanalytical knowledge helps us understand organizations,’ Human Relations, No. 48, April 1995, p. 351. 12 Ashley Montagu and Floyd Matson, The Dehumanization of Man, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983). 13 Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure, (New York: Free Press, 1957) p. 60. 14 C. Wright Mills, ‘Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive,’ Sociological Review, Vol. 5, No. 6, 1940. This is related to the earlier C. Wright Mills, ‘Language, Logic, and Culture,’ American Sociological Review, Vol. 4, No. 5, 1939. that is prior and in the person, language is taken by other persons as an indicator of future actions. Mills also gave us the mechanics of how a cuntocracy operates through his conviction that in the US an elite group had enormous power denied to everyone else; that they were increasingly becoming a self-perpetuating elite; that their power was becoming increasingly unchecked and irresponsible; and that their decision-making was based on an increasingly military definition of reality, a ‘military metaphysic,’ a crackpot realism, that was in fact oriented towards immoral ends. Surely any academically sanctioned cuntocracy would incorporate this — once spun as some glorious national security business rationale. Mills also believed the ‘Power Elite’ had ‘sold’ a believing world on themselves; and they had to play the chief fanatics in their delusional world.15 Perfect: there is a market for this; but we do not want our theory to appear radical — fraudulent yes, radical no: the academics must recognise us as one of their own. Once formulated, better to launch it in a think tank like Demos or the Society for Social Cohesion, perhaps with an article in Prospect by Michael Ignatieff. Impressing the gullible Possibly the greatest theorist of cuntocracy was Thorstein Veblen. Is not his ‘Leisure Class’ elegantly harmonious with our own? Veblen’s ability to gaze upon ‘industrial warfare’ and the ‘businessman as predator’ was with the ‘eyes of a stranger.’ He showed how the trained incapacity of businessmen, acting in accordance with entrepreneurial canons, resulted in an efficient sabotage of production and productivity. But, like Mills, he demonstrated entirely unwanted abilities in social science and is to be avoided like the plague.16 The ire of the academic detractors was prompted because: ‘Veblen may be said to have betrayed the betrayers by thinking unholy thoughts on holy ground and by using 15 C. Wright Mills, ‘Introduction,’ p. vi-xix, in Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, (New Brunswick: Transaction, 1953). 16 Thorstein Veblen: ‘The Main Drift,’ in C. Wright Mills, Images of Man, (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1960), pp. 336-369. the ritualistic paraphernalia of scholarship — ordinarily employed in buttressing the social order and impressing the gullible — for profoundly subversive purposes.’17 Veblen died in 1929, but these people have memories like elephants and their very trade is in sets of grudges masked as scholarship that are passed on before they die. And here we allude to an interesting feature of this form of rule: while an aristocrat might feel happy with being called an aristocrat and can even point to noblesse oblige, the cunt will generally not like the cuntocracy delineated as such and is not disposed towards any connasse oblige. Or are they? Theoretically if the cuntocracy is as axiomatic as we might suppose, we should need to only listen to those at the elite of a cuntocracy to formulate our opinion that we indeed suffer under a cuntocracy they are dishonour bound to create. An audio archive such as this interchange between Nixon and Kissinger might suffice to convince us: Nixon: I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people? Kissinger: That will drown about 200,000 people. Nixon: Well, no, no, no, no, no, I’d rather use a nuclear bomb. Have you got that ready? Kissinger: That I think would just be too much, uh... Nixon: A nuclear bomb, does that bother you? I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.18 You really have to listen to the savour of the tang of 17 Daniel Aaron, Men of Good Hope, (Oxford University Press, 1951) pp. 208-245. Veblen’s conceptualisation of economic relations included his ideas of a ‘strategy of mutual defeat’ that governed the work of the industrial system. And surely utter futility is the hallmark of a cuntocracy. For Veblen, the business interests of the ‘Absentee Owners’ do not coincide with the underlying population’s in a tension between maximum output at low cost versus moderate output at an enhanced price. Here, too, the unions are described as habitually employing ‘the standard methods of the merchandising business, endeavouring to sell their vendible output at the best price obtainable; their chief recourse in these negotiations being a limitation of the supply.’ 18 cuntocracy in Nixon’s voice when he torments Kissinger with that ‘does that bother you?’ The printed page just does not convey it. But of course quite a bit of Nixon’s activities were supposedly secret. Surely a cuntocracy is dependent on a vast hidden propaganda apparatus? But such techniques of control are merely the basic methods by which an individual or a group asserts its cuntocratic orientation — its power and the ability to exploit this power. Even ‘secret’ techniques of control require channels, institutions, and structures by which the techniques and basic methods are implemented. To prevail, control techniques must form a cunto-methodology by which a cuntocratic potential is actualised and once actualised, is maintained. An established cuntocracy will presumably seek to maintain the pattern of structural and behavioural relations that it has developed in the system it tries to control (or indeed wreck): this maintenance pattern demands control devices — propaganda being one of them. So we will tell the academics that this is a form of ‘public diplomacy.’ We can entice them further and appeal to their vanity: promising that they can exploit another functional duality here. Because no cuntocracy is likely to adopt a single technique or restrict itself to some basic technique, certain sets of techniques tend to be required: the top cunts must appear as ruthless and/or truthless when it suits them — the good cunt/bad cunt routine. For example, if violence is the preferred technique, violent cunts will increase in importance and potential. Some concrete group of violent cunts – i.e. the police, the army, or parapolitical agencies – would subsequently increase their scope and intensity and rise to the top of the cuntocracy. But a cuntocracy might switch from violence to mass manipulation as its preferred technique. As a result manipulatory cunts might rise in importance and potential at the expense of violent cunts — if we take the two to be significantly unrelated. Violent cunts might lose their relative elite position in the cuntocracy and move to a lower level in the hierarchy, while manipulatory cunts using actors such as party organisers, mass organisation leaders, propagandists and covert operators — in short academics — would appear in the elite upper echelon gaining prestige and influence: taking on the appearance and vocabulary of top cunts. Here we need only drop hints that academic cuntologists, like Hayek, could be said to have invented the incredibly well-funded field of cuntology to accompany the vicissitudes of the process.19 A problem exists in much sociological work involving the very identification of whatever it is that you are talking about — hence the subsequent ease of substituting one term for another. This suits us fine: we will say that some writers who are presumed to have been writing about elites, or bureaucracies (remember our task is to subsume both) were actually mistranslated or deliberately misunderstood by socialists. The task is merely one of reinstatement: we just slip it in. So, for example, we would say things like: according to Key (1961) a main characteristic of cuntocracies in constitutional systems of government is ‘absence of sufficient cohesion among the activists to unite them into a single group dedicated to the management of public affairs and public opinion.’ Our serious study of cuntology would use this to pretend we are objective the way the more Thespian Academics do. We will have to quote the right people, so we will say that Raymond Aron (1950) categorised cuntocracies in constitutional systems as divided cuntocracies; and we will say Ralf Dahrendorf (1959) extended this to argue that because of this division it was impossible to identify a cuntocracy because it ‘consists of two constants, bureaucracy and government; and one variable, the veto group whose claims are, in particular situations, incorporated in government policy.’ If required we can say that this forms the Burnhamesque view that government managers make decisions by processing the interests pressed on them by a variety of outside interests 19 The academics might feel that they would become analogous to those who prepared the Brothers Grimm’s celebrated ‘Emperor’s new clothes.’ So they will be required to smother any small child who might later try to expose the racket — business as usual one might say. and ‘veto groups,’ but we will substitute ‘top cunts’ here.20 If some outsider makes the derogatory assertion that our social science work here merely forms a type of satire and is incompatible with a ‘serious’ sociological analysis and is in effect some kind of conspiracy theory, we can say that it is at times difficult to be able to distinguish between the two when these things are made so; but we may have to play our ace here and bring in Machiavelli the maestro to show that the two are not mutually exclusive. Hit it Nicky: ‘I come now to the last branch in my charge: that I teach princes villainy, and how to enslave. If any man will read over my book [of the prince] with impartiality and ordinary charity, he will easily perceive that it is not my intention to recommend that government, or those men there described, to the world, much less to teach men how to trample upon good men, and all that is sacred and venerable upon earth, laws religion, honesty, and what not. If I have been a little too punctual in describing these monsters in all their lineaments and colours, I hope mankind will know them, the better to avoid them, my treatise being both a satire against them, and a true character of them…’ 21 Here, in a letter, presumably to another Bishop, Machiavelli in explaining the basis of ‘The Prince’ only seems to think that we need managing in being cuntish towards each other, no initial impetus. And note too that this conveniently comes from the epigram of James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution, that 20 V.O. Key, Public Opinion and American Democracy, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961); Raymond Aron, ‘Politics and the French Intellectual,’ Partisan Review, pp. 595-606, Vol. 17, July 1950; Ralf Dahrendorf, Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society, (Stanford University Press, 1959) p. 305. 21 James Burnham, The Managerial Revolution, (Penguin, 1942), p. 13. There was a second part to the quote from Machiavelli that Burnham (for his own reasons) omitted: ‘Whoever, in his empire, is tied to no other rules than those of his will and lust, must either be a saint or else a very devil incarnate; or, if he be neither of these, both his life and his reign are like to be very short; for whosoever takes upon him so execrable an employment, must turn all topsy turvey, and never stick at anything; for if he once halt, he will fall and never rise again, etc.’ said that an Athenian cuntocracy had been replaced with a more anonymous, but functionally indispensable, managerial cuntocracy.22 What other great works should undergird our thesis? Well, those that no one has any intention of reading naturally offer themselves up, particularly ones steeped in the past that impart some gravitas to the term. We can trot out Alexander D’Entreves (1967) description of Plato’s ‘Argument of Thrasymachus,’ and note the early inclusion of the cuntocratic in Socrates’ response to Thrasymachus. D’Entreves study of the state quickly arrives at Plato’s theory of the ‘Noble Lie,’ what we will adapt as the ‘Noble Cunt.’23 Here we will stress that only humans lie properly. A Nietzschean ‘higher morality’ (yes: ‘higher cuntality’) could be trundled out that enables the ‘Überfotze’ (the super-cunt) to rise above the restrictions of ordinary morality. In its essence the Noble Lie establishes rigid divisions (an exploitative cuntocracy) by telling us that only certain people can be leaders: the ‘guardians of gold’. So, as a sop, we can always offer the possibility that only certain people can be cunts and that the chances are they will already be in, or want, control of things because they feel they should: let our watchword be apathy. For D’Entreves the Noble Lie was now variously termed ‘ideology,’ or ‘myth,’ or ‘political formula’, so we might as well feel free to add another name for it combining the lot. A powerful regime is surely one that succeeds in excluding from people’s minds the issues most dangerous for that regime: that we are ruled by rich cunts in our case. What creates the present cuntocracy? So, what are the conditions that create the cuntocracy that we presently inhabit? Let us just go back to C. Wright Mills: his 22 Richard Gillam, White Collar from start to finish: C. Wright Mills in transition, (Stanford University, 1981) p. 4. 23 Alexander Passerin D’Entreves, The Notion of the State, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967). Our use of D’Entreves would maintain that Thrasymachus had it that to talk of justice in relation to the state is irrelevant: ‘If one is determined to do so at any cost, one must recognise that ‘Cuntocracy, when great enough, is mightier, freer, and more masterly than justice.’ view was that the US had no nationally responsible political parties offering and standing upon alternative political orientations and programmes — well, we will need that but say it is a good thing: consensus. For Mills there was also no significant senior civil service composed of those whose careers were independent of private interests — that sounds perfect, we will make that sound like job creation. The political directorate was said to be composed of former generals, former corporation men or hangers-on of the highest business and legal circles — again: if they do not produce a cuntocracy no one can. The state, in its personnel and in its persistent outlook, appeared to Mills to be a committee of the ruling circles of corporation and high military.24 Fine, but what drives it all? In Mills’ cuntocracy – and the US is now the only Supercuntocracy – a high-flying moral rhetoric was joined with an ‘opportunist crawling among a great scatter of unfocused fears and demands’— again perfect: there is our teleology. The main content of this form of ‘politics’ was a struggle among those equally expert in practical next steps in the thrust toward killing for sordid or for idealistic reasons — again a text book formulation.25 One final problem with promoting the term is that the loony left will say that it will be useful to big business and dictators. Perfect: if that is the case we will be welcomed into academia with open arms. Once normalised, if there was big money behind it an academic managerial niche would be found for it instantly, or my name is Peter Drucker. 24 C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956) p. 88. 25 C. Wright Mills, The Causes of World War Three, (London: Secker & Warburg, 1958) p. 90. Tottenham burning: the minor practitioners of Soros’ “open society” Dr T. P. Wilkinson Mr David Cameron, the Etonian prefect of Her Majesty’s Britannic government, was quoted responding to the unrest in London and other cities: ‘We needed a fightback and a fightback is under way. We will not put up with this in our country. We will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets.’ There was no irony in this statement, no humility, no cognitive spark in this scholastic boilerplate. Quite the contrary: after the Neanderthal neo-papist Mr Blair, returning from abroad, Mr Cameron has emerged as the incarnation of Britain’s bullying class, to perform his role as mouthpiece for those who fear most that they will not be able to rule Britain (or the rest of the world) by economic and military terror. The Financial Times cited an unnamed ‘race relations expert’ (a term with a nostalgic apartheid-era tone) what he witnessed in Camden. He said: ‘When I asked one boy what he was doing he shrugged his shoulders and said ‘I dunno’. This isn’t about alienation or about racist police… This is purely acquisitive — it’s not social and economic but moral and cultural and that’s why it’s become so difficult and dangerous.” In the same article a forensic psychologist is quoted: ‘There is no higher purpose, you just have a high volume of people with a history of impulsive behaviour having a giant adventure.’ Flash to the last page of the same FT edition and one can read ‘Equities plunge further on eurozone fears’. One Michael Hewson from an investment firm is quoted: ‘With investors so nervous and markets so feral, any rumour or doubt seems to be getting amplified as volatility and fear increases.’ The fear terrifying Hewson is the notion that something like popular discontent could persuade governments to stop diverting all their revenues into the troughs of banks and bondholders. A trader friend of mine related yesterday how it was impossible for him to close transactions online since the entire computer trading system was blocked — by algorithmic mass trading, naturally. As economist Professor Michael Hudson once observed, the average time period for which a share is held is approximately 22 seconds. These ‘markets’ are nothing more than a pathological sphere in which anonymous trader proxies shift around corners, disperse and regroup, stand about and watch or hurl missiles at edifices of the real economy and society. Masters of this kind of ‘social media’ do not evade police constables on foot, they dodge entire sovereign systems. Mr George Soros proudly sold the pound sterling short in the amount of GBP 10 billion by borrowing enormous amounts of sterling and investing them in rival currencies within the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Knowing that these purchases of French Franc and Deutsche Mark would push the pound down below the EERM limit, he essentially forced the British government to buy his borrowed currency positions to boost sterling’s exchange rate. As the pound continued to sink he could cover his sterling positions with cheap money issued by the British treasury to support the exchange rate. The difference went into his pocket. Now a portion of the profits from Soros’ economic looting are diverted through his Open Society Foundation into training people to use ‘social media’ to manipulate incipient unrest throughout the world — the world his ‘culture of fear’ has exacerbated. The streets have increasingly become the only homes left to people who can no longer find paid work or affordable housing in economies wrecked by the fear-mongers of global finance. The past weeks have been full of distractive reporting about the inevitability or justifiability of US government default on its debt. The rest of the white world is held in acrimonious anxiety because the côte dictatoire of Europe is no longer the great reservoir of tax-free profits to which northern European banks have become accustomed. The term ‘PIGS’ (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) was never used when the vandals of Frankfurt, London, and Paris could rely upon Salazar, Franco, King Constantine and colonels or corrupt Gaelic collaborators, to assure their return on investment. In the US, the real fear is that the debt machine funding what is essentially the Third World War will collapse unless more wealth is extracted from the emaciated US middle class. As the US economy ceases to employ people at wages sufficient to garnish, the only option remaining is to burn the last legal barriers protecting ostensible income reserves — the deferred tax assets accrued from the meagre state pension and healthcare systems — cynically named ‘Social Security’. The Standard & Poor’s downgrade of US debt was as predictable as the burning of a Debenham’s department store in Clapham Junction — once the largest junction of a functioning British Rail system and now a paragon of Margaret Thatcher’s neo- Victorian nightmare. The issues here are indeed fear and so-called social media for sure. But who are the perpetrators? Certainly they are not the homeless or jobless on Facebook or Twitter. If one tries to find them online, they will shift and disappear into the datasphere. They lurk around the corners of cabinet offices and philanthropic facades. They assemble as markets with no faces or names and launch their Molotovs from the White House or Downing Street. They scramble masked through the mirrored mazes in which we are led to believe our sovereignty is exercised. Armed with the sledgehammers of speculation and bearing sacks issued by our national treasuries, they steal at will and destroy what they cannot carry. The historical term for what are now called ‘capitalists’ was ‘adventurer’. The open society for them is a world of endless speculation and theft with no higher purpose, just a small volume of people ‘with a history of impulsive behaviour having a giant adventure.’ 2011: a Reagan odyssey Dr. T. P. Wilkinson Americans live in the world first made possible by the massive exploitation of German cinematography on the outskirts of what was then a young California city. Their history does not come from books but from what was originally celluloid and now are billions of digital signals. Hence it is no wonder that the ‘greatest US president’ was an iconic product of the film and propaganda industry which has done more to sell the US ‘way of life’ and its vision of the world than anything else, including Coca-Cola. Ronald Reagan, an entirely synthetic personality – like the digital Max Headroom created during his presidency1 – was given to us all a century ago. He has portrayed all the important mythic roles the republic had to offer in the 20th century: scientist, athlete, army officer (ironically George A. Custer), New Dealer, unionist, anti-communist, and spokesman for a variety of corporate interests, mainly the General Electric trust. He became rich from speculation when real estate was being expropriated from Japanese-Americans in California and influential as an FBI informer. All told it was an excellent record to propel him into the California governor's mansion as the representative of its most reactionary business elements. However it was not until the so-called ‘Reagan Revolution’ that the con-man from GE and FBI stooge became the leading light of American idealism. Reagan’s presidency and the nauseating hagiography that was already being produced during his second, Alzheimer’s term represent the pinnacle of the true American empire, the one which liberals like to forget when they laud ‘progressive California’. Reagan represented the victory of Manifest Destiny over all other un- American forms of conquest. While previous US presidents 1 See were beholden to Atlantic, and hence transatlantic elites, Reagan was the first president to draw his power base from those who had not only conquered the North American continent but built their palaces on the West coast. Richard Nixon had tried to do this but was essentially scuttled by the North-eastern elite. Nixon never had the control over the media which was the essence of Reagan’s career and the source of his electoral power. To say also that Ronald Reagan was the nation’s first ‘television president’ is by no means a cliché: Reagan established the narrative by which the television portrayal of government or war was for all intents and purposes its essence. What was not seen on television – never happened. It is necessary to bear this in mind when reviewing the events of the past weeks. The vicious and obscene snuffmovie broadcast throughout the world in which the conquest of Libya is consummated by Qaddafi’s murder was not accidental. When Ronald Reagan called Qaddafi a ‘mad dog’ he was following a carefully honed script. This ‘mad dog’ imagery – that of an animal infected with rabies who can only be ‘put down’ – is the language of the West, the language of slaughtering Native Americans and making trophies out of their body parts. This kind of language could still be found in bumper stickers proclaiming ‘save a walleye, kill an Indian’ which could be found on cars of white fishermen protesting that Native Americans retained salmon fishing rights, while non-Indians could only fish during the season. Of course this viciousness is not unique to the Western elite, it is simply less sublimated, less polite. But then most of America is unsublimated and far from polite when it comes to the use of violence, as can be seen in the exponential growth of police and army slaughter films since 1981. The entirely synthetic, digital president Every president since Reagan has been obliged to follow the tone set by the country’s terrorist-in-chief. George Bush Sr and George W Bush as well as William Clinton were integral parts of the Reagan tradition – liberal fantasies to the contrary not withstanding. In 2008, the ultimate synthetic president was elected, Barack Obama, a man with no publicly traceable political history, whose entire campaign relied on the illusion that there was a mass movement to which he did not even belong, and whose greatest political inspiration is Ronald W. Reagan. Obama’s likely political-professional history is not much different from that of Reagan’s: an apparent Mr Nobody gets picked from a West Coast college, is channelled anonymously through the cadre institutions of the Northeast elite and moves to the Midwest. With no traceable political debts he finds himself a US Senator, and before his first term expires he is on the Democratic ticket for president. Obama is the apogee of the Reagan Revolution, the entirely synthetic, digital president, incorporating the most modern and vicious weapons arsenal the world has ever known. The damned – the non-American But there is a story behind all this and it is not just the story of oil and mineral wealth. The US has always had a religious component to its imperial designs – no matter how cynically or hypocritically pursued. It is a story of damnation and salvation. Ultimately there can be no salvation for the damned – the non-American. But the illusion of salvation has to be maintained, otherwise its value in the US would be called into question. Everyone in the world must want to be American – even if it is actually impossible and for many perhaps even undesirable. When the US unleashed the atomic bomb in 1945, the country’s corporate and military leadership were sure they had found the ultimate imperial weapon. They believed that with the bomb they could absorb all the ‘old European’ empires and march into their long-desired Pacific empire unthreatened by retaliation or by ‘yellow hordes’. Hence the Korean War and then the Vietnam War became real traumas for the US elite. Unable to admit to their subjects at home that the two great wars fought before were for loot and empire, they had to invent a new and utterly unseen threat. They could not explain that after ostensibly fighting for the freedom of all nations for the second time in a century, they were in fact suppressing that very freedom everywhere. American ‘interests’ had to be defined as ‘democracy and freedom’ without anyone being able to measure what the content of those interests actually was. Anyone who did not want American ‘democracy and freedom’ was damned. Democracy and freedom When the second world war ended many of the peoples in what was later to be called the ‘third world’ took ‘democracy and freedom’ seriously and began to fight for independence from European (and American) domination. Wars of independence were being fought all over the world, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Malaysia, in the Dutch East Indies, throughout Africa and in Latin America. Without exception the US was overtly or covertly fighting to suppress these independence movements or to absorb them into the US empire. The majority of these wars did not take place on television. Until the Soviet Union broke the US atomic monopoly, it was assumed that the US would prevail by sheer size and massive force. Carpet-bombing the industrialised northern half of Korea was just one expression of the US way of delivering ‘democracy and freedom’. While a phoney war was staged in the US media between the US and its former W.W.II ally, the Soviet Union, real wars with weapons of mass destruction were waged by the US throughout the planet – mainly against what George Carlin called ‘brown people’. The phoney war was dead serious in that US strategic planners – several of whom were outright fascists recruited from Eastern Europe or Germany – were doing their very best to calculate the chances of annihilating the Soviet Union first without being seriously injured. However, the public discussion was a ruse. It kept everyone looking at alleged Soviet expansion when the only country that had been expanding since the end of the war was the US. In this global war of bombing and assassination (the major tactics employed by the US), the Soviet Union served as the face of the enemy. But already by the time Nixon entered the White House this was no longer very plausible. It was becoming increasingly difficult to claim that the Soviet Union was going to destroy the world (actually the US strategic policy). With détente and Nixon’s entry to China, the last classical enemies were gone – but the war was not over. Carter’s ludicrous attempts to blame the Soviet Union for the war his national security advisor Brzezinski instigated and covertly funded in Afghanistan were largely a deadly distraction with no initial impact on the new ‘enemy’. Reagan’s attempts to portray Nicaragua and the Sandinistas as the new world evil – although viciously pursued by his ‘Contra-Freedom Fighters’ – never made much of an impression in the American consciousness. Reagan struck gold however when he publicly called Libya’s nationalist leader Qaddafi, a ‘mad-dog’. The image was wonderful. A mad-dog cannot be cured, it can only be killed. A mad-dog is like the damned, beyond salvation. Of course the next step was to make the ‘mad-dog’ present itself; mad dogs are only dangerous if they come close. But how many Americans know where Libya (or Africa for that matter) is? Infamous fabrications Successive violent ‘terrorist’ events were then attributed to the ‘mad dog’. Soon the ‘mad dog’ in Libya was funding or otherwise supporting everything that the US government or its corporations found objectionable or an obstacle. The two most infamous fabrications were the so-called LaBelle disco bombing in Berlin and the Lockerbie aircraft bombing. Both of these events were attributed to Libya and hence to Qaddafi without the slightest verifiable proof. Although to this day no unimpeachable evidence has ever been shown that Libya was involved in any way, the mere repeated assertion – primarily through television – that Libya and Qaddafi were responsible simply became fact. No corporate media outlet (and the vast majority of media are business corporations) gave serious attention to the lack of evidence or the fact that these were mere assertions on the part of the Hollywood president trying to give teeth to his ‘mad dog’ fantasy. (There is of course no reason why any corporate reporting should deviate from the official line since it is its function to propagate that line in the first place.) The vicious murder of the last real enemy of the US empire, the last man to have ejected US military from his country and to have defended his people against neocolonialism under the US, is a fitting fulfilment of the promise Reagan made to the American people and the world and an apt commeration of the centenary of ‘the greatest American president’. The mutilated remains of anti-colonialism, nationalism, secular Arab socialism, and African independence as it was conceived by Nkrumah and Lumumba (both deposed by the US) will be dragged through the virtual streets of the corporate mediascape, a bloody space odyssey. In 2011, Qaddafi’s murder is the apex of Reaganism and the Age of Reagan – from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama – essentially it is the spirit of the Gipper, and, in that sense, ‘all American’.2 The author lectures in economic history in Cologne and Duesseldorf and is associate director of the Institute for Advanced Cultural Studies, Europe. 2 See and Weather weapons: the dark world of environmental warfare T. J. Coles Didn’t it rain Declassified records show that from 1949 to 1955, the Royal Air Force (RAF) released various substances, including dry ice, silver iodide, and salt into the atmosphere at high altitudes in order to induce rain. ‘The clouds would then precipitate, pulled down below freezing point by the extra weight of dense particles, thus making it rain sooner and heavier than it might have done’, the Guardian reported.1 Using chemicals supplied by ICI, ‘international scientists’ were involved in the experiments, including specialists from the Cranfield College of Aeronautics and the RAF’s meteorological research base at Farnborough. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the programme was that the weather weaponisation experiments continued three years after they had produced the worst recorded flood in British history, the Lynmouth disaster of 1952. The Telegraph reported how ‘Former RAF servicemen..... described how they took part in the experiments in the years running up to the flood.’ 2 Of Project Cumulus, or Operation Witch Doctor as it was nicknamed by Squadron Leader Len Otley, the BBC reported how the glider pilot Alan Yates sprayed chemicals over Bedfordshire, after which ‘Scientists told him it caused a heavy downpour in Staines, 50 miles (80 kilometres) away in Middlesex.’3 This claim appears to be 1 John Vidal and Helen Weinstein, ‘RAF rainmakers ‘caused 1952 flood’’, Guardian, 30 August 2001, 2 Sally Pook, ‘Deadly flood blamed on RAF rainmakers’, Telegraph, 31 August 2001, 3 BBC News Online, ‘Rain-making link to killer floods’, 30 August 2001, disinformation because BBC radio reports confirm that the gliders were actually spraying over Lynmouth village itself.4 Concerning the seeding operations that caused the Lynmouth disaster, RAF Captain John Hart explained how, in 1952, ‘We flew straight through the top of the cloud, poured dry ice down into the cloud. We flew down to see if any rain came out of the cloud and it did, about 30 minutes later, and we all cheered...... [senior lecturer at Cranfield College of Aeronautics] Alan Yates said the BBC had been filming the experiments, but the resulting programme was abandoned when the country awoke to news of the Lynmouth flood the day before it was due to be broadcast.’5 Within a few hours of the cloud seeding operations, some 90 million tonnes of water fell onto Lynmouth, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses, and causing the deaths of 35 people. Reporting in 2001, ‘a BBC investigation has confirmed that secret experiments were causing heavy rainfall’, though the Ministry of Defence (MOD) denied any connection between the seeding experiments and the flood. Initially, the MoD even denied conducting any cloud seeding experiments at all. ‘Survivors tell how the air smelled of sulphur on the afternoon of the floods, and the rain fell so hard it hurt people’s faces’, the BBC reported. ‘Trees were uprooted and formed dams behind bridges, creating walls of water that carried huge boulders into the village, destroying shops, hotels and homes. Bodies washed out to sea were never found.’ The report quoted Tony Speller, a former North Devon MP, saying that when he asked for Ministry of Defence files, ‘I could never find anything of any consequence, except the fact that papers were clearly missing for the significant years [1949-55].’6 The BBC reported 34 deaths and the newspapers 35, 4 The radio broadcast is repeated in Don’t Talk About the Weather, 2008, Ill Eagle Films, at 5 Sally Pook, ‘Deadly flood blamed on RAF rainmakers’, Telegraph, 31 August 2001, 6 BBC News Online, ‘Rain-making link to killer floods’, 30 August 2001, and a decade later the BBC documentary Country Tracks (broadcast in 2011) confirmed that one corpse — perhaps a member of the secret services dispatched to monitor the operations — could not be accounted for. ‘[D]ocuments express concern by the [Ministry of Defence] over who would be financially liable if such rainmaking experiments went wrong’, the Telegraph reported, ending with a citation from a Ministry of Defence statement made in 2001 in light of the revelations: ‘Cloud seeding has rarely been successful anywhere in the world. Consequently the Met Office had not pursued this line of research for many years.’7 The MoD not only contradicted itself then, because its earlier statements denied involvement in any cloud seeding operations, but it contradicted itself in 2010 by announcing in a public document that out to 2040: ‘Weather modification will continue to be explored. The aims are to obtain more water, reduce hail damage, eliminate fog, or other similar practical result in response to a recognised need. Manipulation of the weather may affect changes in operating conditions, limit aviation flight envelopes, generate poor visibility while providing concealment and disrupt lines of communications. Weather modification may also affect morale.’ Returning home to see your house floating down the river is indeed bound to ‘affect morale.’ The MoD continued: ‘Analysis by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has shown that, if successful, rainfall enhancement and hail suppression operations could have significant economic benefit. The WMO Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme notes that there are several operational programmes in fog dispersion, rain and snow enhancement, as well as hail suppression. 7 See note 5. (Emphases added).’8 Coupled with the Pentagon’s commitment to achieve Full Spectrum Dominance by 2020, the fact that the MoD and the US Air Force had the capability to destroy an entire village with 90 million tonnes of rainfall as far back as the 1950s, means we must take seriously the possibility that weather weaponisation is being used, under the cover of anthropogenic global warming (which is no doubt happening, but provides a perfect cover for freak weather events). The US Air Force 2025 think-tank stated in a long-term study that weather weaponisation ‘provides opportunities to impact operations across the full spectrum of conflict and is pertinent to all possible futures.’ The US Air Force is counting on the fact that ‘some segments of society will always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as weather-modification.’9 A brief history of weather weapons ‘The nation which first learns to plot the paths of air masses accurately and learns to control the time and place of precipitation will dominate the globe.’ So said General George C. Kenney, Commander of the US Strategic Air Command, in the 1940s.10 Soon after came Project Cirrus, the first explicit, military rainmaking effort in the West.11 Fifty years later, the United States Air Force, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Office, had come a 8 The Developments, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, ‘Strategic Trends Programme: Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040’ (4th edition), The Ministry of Defence, 9 February 2010, p. 156, at 9 Col. Tamzy J. House, Lt. Col. James B. Near, Jr., LTC William B. Shields, Maj. Ronald J. Celentano, Maj. David M. Husband, Maj. Ann E. Mercer, Maj. James E. Pugh, ‘Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025’, Air Force 2025, August 1996, at . 10 Kenney quoted in James R. Fleming, ‘The Climate Engineers: Playing God to Save the Planet’, Wilson Quarterly, Spring, 2007, p. 55. 11 Arnold A. Barnes, ‘Weather Modification: Test Technology Symposium ’97: Session B: Advanced Weapons/Instrumentation Technologies’, Air Force Materiel Command, 19 March 1997, at . long way technologically. Under the Director of Weather, the US Air Force operates a Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, who oversees nine Operational Weather Squadrons, each of which has an assigned geographical Area of Responsibility; the Air Force Weather Organization; the Air Force Weather Agency; the 55th Space Weather Squadron; the Air Force Combat Climatology Center; and the Air Force Combat Weather Center. Continental United States Operational Weather Squadrons ‘are also responsible for CONUS [Continental US] regional weather support. They produce and disseminate terminal forecasts, weather warnings and advisories, planning and execution area forecasts, and other operational products to Combat Weather Teams’, the US Air Force explained over a decade ago.12 Collectively, these unit staff are known as the ‘weather warriors’, who ensure that fighter jets can take off, fly, and land, and they often accompany the Air Force — equipped with mobile weather stations — into combat zones. The US Navy has a comparable amount of weather units. Given the dependence on weather information of the Department of Defense, and, increasingly, the Space Command, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s James R. Fleming observed that ‘it is virtually impossible to imagine that the world’s powers would resist the temptation to explore the military uses of any potentially climate-altering technology.’13 Indeed, the US Air Force 2025 think-tank of the Air War College explained in 1996: ‘A global network of sensors provides “weather warriors” with the means to monitor and accurately predict weather activities and their effects on military operations. A diverse set of weather modification tools’, – which they hoped to have ready by 2025 (if they haven’t already) – ‘allows manipulation of small-to-medium scale weather phenomena to enhance friendly force capabilities and 12 United States Air Force, ‘Department of Defense Weather Programs’, undated, circa 1999, at 13 Fleming: see note 10. degrade those of the adversary’ (emphasis added).14 These ideas are hardly new, and neither is the technology to induce floods or droughts. What is new, however, is the electromagnetic weaponry available to do these things on a global scale, and to accurately plot global weather patterns using a complex array of network-centric weather stations and, in the future, space-based thermal lasers. In 1945, the mathematician and later US government advisor, John von Neumann, predicted ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’.15 In 1948, Fortune magazine reported that the US ‘Army, Navy and Air Force are spending close to a million dollars a year on weather modification and their tremendous interest suggests that military applications extend far beyond visiting a few showers upon an enemy. It does not require a sharp mind to figure out that wartime storms might readily be infected with virulent bacteriological and radiological substances.’16 The US Air Force (USAF) reported over a decade ago that their Boundary Layer Meteorology and Aerosol Research Branch ‘conducts a research program in the micrometeorological processes and structure of the atmospheric boundary layer. This program focuses on the interaction of the land-air interface with wind fields, turbulence, and fluxes and on optical methods of detection of aerosols (primarily chemical-biological agents) and the modeling of their transport and dispersion in the tactical 14 Lt. Col. Jack A. Jackson, Jr. et al ‘An Operational Analysis for Air Force 2025: An Application of Value-Focused Thinking to Future Air and Space Capabilities’, Air Force 2025, May 1996, at 15 ‘Perhaps more dangerous than nuclear war itself’, Spencer Weart commented in his ‘Environmental Warfare: Climate Modification Schemes’, Global Research, 5 December 2009. 16 ‘Case Study 2: Weather Modification: The Evolution of an R&D Program into a Military Operation’, United States Military, undated, p.4, archived at environment’ (emphasis added).17 This suggests that the USAF is spraying the American public with biological and chemical agents in order to test the efficacy of satellite detection — something that activists call chemtrails.18 In a 2005 Parliamentary debate, David Drew MP asked the then Secretary of State for Rural Affairs to ‘look into the polluting effects of chemtrails for aircraft’ in the UK.19 US Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s Space Preservation Act (2001) also mentions chemtrails by name.20 Although the US Air Force dismisses the phenomenon as ‘a hoax’,21 declassified records show, however, that the MoD did the same thing to the British public from 1940 through to 1979.22 The Fortune magazine quote above concerning biological substances strategically placed in storm cells has resonance with the Lynmouth floods of the 1950s. The Guardian reported that the MoD also experimented with putting radiological substances into the clouds — what they would call a ‘dirty bomb’ today.23 More recently, Dennis M. Bushnell gave a talk to NASA in which he outlined plans for dispersing airborne viruses, such as Ebola and new, specially engineered 17 United States Air Force, ‘Department of Defense Weather Programs’, undated, circa 1999, at . 18 For this author’s experiences with chemtrails, see . 19 David Drew MP, ‘Part 1: Written Questions for Answer on Wednesday 2 November 2005, House of Commons, Session 2005–06 Publications on the internet’, The Questions Book, Paragraph 124, Questions for Oral or Written Answer Beginning on Wednesday 2 November 2005, 20 Dennis Kucinich, ‘The Space Preservation Act (2001)’, United States Library of Congress, HR 2977 IH, 1st Session, 2 October, 2001, at 21 United States Air Force, ‘Contrails Facts’, undated, AFD-051013- 001, at . 22 Antony Barnett, ‘Millions were in germ war tests’, The Observer, 21 April, 2002, . 23 John Vidal and Helen Weinstein, ‘RAF rainmakers “caused 1952 flood” ’, Guardian, 30 August 2001, nanoviruses.24 In 1953, after Lynmouth had been destroyed, the US established the Presidential Committee on Weather Control, the director of which, Navy Captain H.T. Orville, said that ‘If an unfriendly nation gets into a position to control the large-scale weather patterns before we can, the results could be more disastrous than nuclear warfare.’ He went on to claim that the Soviets had developed technologies designed to melt the polar icecaps; and it is true that for decades Russia has experimented with ionospheric heating.25 The latter may well be being used today in order to ‘liberate shipping and open potentially vast oil and mineral deposits for exploitation’, according to James R. Fleming.26 Just as America has been deliberately provoking a race to weaponise space under the pretext of preventing ‘a space Pearl Harbor’, evidence has emerged that the US has been weaponising the weather under similar pretexts. ‘The lowest price for procrastination in this regard (immediate establishment of a rigorous atmosphere research program) will be political, economic, social and military paralysis’, a US Navy report alleged in 1960, concluding that ‘The highest price will be absolute obedience to the leaders in the Kremlin.’ Henry G. Houghton, a meteorologist at MIT, told the US Department of Defense in 1960 that ‘An unfavorable modification of our climate in the guise of a peaceful effort to improve Russia’s climate could seriously weaken our economy and ability to resist.’ This was echoed in a Congressional hearing which claimed to ‘know that the Russians are devoting great energy and scientific talent to learning how to control the weather. It is urgent that the United States not fall behind in this race.’27 America’s Rear Admiral Luis De Florez reiterated in the early 1960s the importance of weather control on ‘the 24 Dennis M. Bushnell, ‘Future Strategic Issues/Future Warfare [Circa 2025]’, NASA Langley Research Center, undated, at 25 Orville cited in ‘Case Study 2’ (see note 16) pp. 4-5. 26 Fleming, see note 10, p. 48. 27 These quotations are from ‘Case Study 2’ (see note 16) pp. 5-8. operations and economy of an enemy [which] could be disrupted.’ Such control ‘in a cold war (sic) would provide a powerful and subtle weapon to injure agricultural production, hinder commerce and slow down industry.’ (emphasis added)28 In the 1960s, it was realised that ‘Large-scale weather control techniques might be used to cause extensive flooding in strategic areas or even to bring a new “ice age” upon the enemy’, the US Navy reported, concluding that ‘some exploratory research has been conducted on ways to change the heading of major storms.’ (emphases added)29 This drive led to the storm modification programme, allegedly undertaken for the benign use of slowing down major storms, called ‘Project Stormfury’.30 Historical Use In 1962, the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA with ‘Defense’ tagged on) initiated a classified project entitled Some Upper Atmosphere Aspects of Chemical Geophysical Warfare. A year later, the CIA began a cloud seeding operation designed to rain off Buddhist protests in Saigon. It was latter revealed to be a common practice by the US in Indochina. By the end of the decade, continuing the excuse of needing to prevent a ‘weather Pearl Harbor’, ARPA launched ‘Project Nile Blue’, with the stated aim of researching weather modification, because ‘it now appears highly probable that major world powers have the ability to create modifications of climate that might be seriously detrimental’ to America.31 Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, reiterated that the emerging ‘techniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged 28 Florez cited in Fleming (see note 10) p. 55. 29 ‘Case Study 2 (see note 16) p. 8. 30 See, of the many examples on the Net, 31 ‘Case Study 2’ (see note 16) periods of drought or storm’,32 about which the Vietnamese knew all too well. After the Pentagon Papers leak, Seymour Hersh revealed in the New York Times that America had been manipulating the weather in Vietnam in order to cause floods. The project was also employed in several other countries and codenamed ‘Operation Popeye’ (also ‘Intermediary’ and ‘Compatriot’). The US Air Force also confirmed that ‘Positive results during this initial program led to continued operations from 1967 to 1972’, which ‘resulted in a significant reduction in the enemy’s ability to bring supplies into South Vietnam along the trail.’33 Weather modification was not limited to enemy territories. ‘[A] 1972 U.S. government rainmaking operation in South Dakota was followed by a disastrous flood, and came under attack in a class-action lawsuit. One cloud-seeding airplane was even shot at’, Spencer Weart reported.34 In Rogue State, William Blum noted how the US also tried to flood Cuba’s harvests with weather weapons.35 According to James Fleming, ‘Operation Popeye’ was not limited to Vietnam: it also flooded Laos, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Panama, Portugal, and Okinawa.36 The goals were: ‘(1) Softening Road Surfaces (2) Causing Landslides Along Roadways (3) Washing out River Crossings (4) Maintain[ing] Saturated Soil Conditions beyond the Normal Time Span’. 37 Does this sound familiar? This is what we are witnessing across the world (mostly in Third World nations) today. Mudslides are particularly affecting America’s ‘backyard’, as Nixon called Central and South America, with devastation in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, and other emerging economic and political threats to US hegemony. 32 Brzezinski cited in Michel Chossudovsky, ‘The Elephant in the Room at Copenhagen: Washington’s New World Order Weapons Have the Ability to Trigger Climate Change’, Global Research, 4 January 2002 at 33 Col. Tamzy J. House et al. See note 9. 34 See note 15. 35 William Blum, 2000, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Maine, Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 109. 36 Fleming: see note 10. 37 ‘Case Study 2’ (see note 16) p. 28 Referring to weather modification in general, ‘the effects of these uses on men, animals, and ecology in general are much milder and more transient than those of guns, bombs, defoliants, and napalm’, US Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger informed the Pell Committee in 1974, adding, ‘there is reason to argue for the use of localized weather modification where possible, as a humane replacement for modern weaponry.’38 The Red Cross did not agree with Schlesinger’s assertion about the nicety of weather warfare. In 1974 it held a conference in which it was stated that: ‘The expert who put forward the subject of geophysical warfare for consideration stated that it included such activities as the modification of weather or climate and the causing of earthquakes. He stated that man already possessed the ability to bring about on a limited scale certain geophysical changes for which military applications were conceivable. In his view these would inevitably be indiscriminate, and could give rise to unforeseeable environmental changes of prolonged duration.’39 Weather treaties In 1975 the US and Canada signed a treaty at the United Nations, which prohibited weather modification ‘because of their geographic proximity....... the effects of weather modification activities carried out by either Party or its nationals may affect the territory of the other.’40 This led to a world-wide treaty on environmental warfare, the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques (the ENMOD 38 Schlesinger cited in ‘Case Study 2’ (see note 16) p. 28 39 International Committee of the Red Cross, ‘Conference of Government Experts on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons’, Lucerne, 24.9, 18 October 1974, Geneva: ICRC. 40 United Nations, ‘Agreement Between Canada and the United States of America Relating to the Exchanging of Information on Weather Modification Activities’, United Nations Treaty Series, Vol. 977, 1-14202, pp. 386-91. Convention 1977). The ENMOD Convention was drafted, adopted, and ratified in order to ‘prohibit effectively military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques in order to eliminate the dangers to mankind from such use, and affirming their willingness to work towards the achievement of this objective.’ Article 2 clarified that ‘the term “environmental modification techniques” refers to any technique for changing – through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.’ Relative to Article 2, the Annex reads: ‘It is the understanding of the Committee that the following examples are illustrative of phenomena that could be caused by the use of environmental modification techniques as defined in Article II of the Convention: earthquakes, tsunamis; an upset in the ecological balance of a region; changes in weather patterns (clouds, precipitation, cyclones of various types and tornadic storms); changes in climate patterns; changes in ocean currents; changes in the state of the ozone layer; and changes in the state of the ionosphere.’41 In 1978, the New Scientist had revealed ‘the US’s efforts to manage weather resources’ on a global scale through its Weather Modification Advisory Board (WMAB) – another violation of the ENMOD Convention. The WMAB was an offshoot of the Presidential Committee on Weather Control. ‘If the United States wants to wring extra rain out of clouds or gentle hurricane winds (sic)’, the WMAB reported, ‘it must mount a coherent, sustained, long-term research programme.’42 The US did, however, continue its modification programmes. Significantly, a US Army report into the history of weather modification confirmed that 41 United Nations, ‘Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques’ (ENMOD Convention 1977), Geneva, 18 May 1977. 42 Editorial, ‘Report calls for more US research on weather modification’, New Scientist, 20 July 1978. ‘Suggestions to ban the use of weather modification for war or to remove relevant R&D from military sponsorship were reported to have “encountered considerable opposition from the Pentagon”, which in fact they had, though this was now after the US use of weather modification in Indochina [‘Operation Popeye’] had been publicly acknowledged by the government.’43 Little evidence of weather modification emerges from the 1980s, suggesting that funding was either transferred to Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or else those weather modification activities have yet to be declassified. For example, Congress approved $110 billion for SDI between 1985 and 2005, much of it going into R&D for the Airborne Laser.44 According to an Air Force Phillips Laboratory weather warfare symposium in 1997, they needed to create ‘New weapons systems more sensitive to the atmosphere: Composite materials and lightning; electronic components and lightning; need to involve weather officers very early.’ The presentation also mentioned ‘clouds and the airborne laser’ and ‘laser lightning rod to trigger lightning.’45 Major Barry Coble claimed that funding for weather weapons ‘was eliminated in 1979. Since then there has been no active research effort into weather modification by DOD [the Department of Defense].’ However, Coble also mentioned that ‘A pulsed laser literally causes water droplets to shatter [evaporate]’ 46 and it must be possible that the airborne laser, drones, and the coming space weapons will be used for 43 ‘Case Study 2’ (see note 16) p. 7 44 Steven A. Hildreth and Christopher Bolkcom, ‘Airborne Laser (ABL): Issues for Congress’, Congressional Research Service, Order Code RL32123, 9 July 2007. 45 Arnold A. Barnes, ‘Weather Modification: Test technology Symposium ’97: Session B: Advanced Weapons/Instrumentation Technologies’, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, United States Air Force, Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Air Force Materiel Command, 19 March, 1997, archived at 46 Maj. Barry B. Coble, ‘Benign Weather Modification’, United States Air Force School of Advanced Airpower Studies, March 1997, Alabama: Air University Press, p. 3, p. 25 at weather modification and kept in secret programmes. According to Radio Free Europe online, the Russian scientist Andrei Areshev suggested that the Pentagon’s X-37B unmanned space shuttle (launched in 2010) ‘carries “laser weaponry” and could be a key component in the Pentagon’s climate-change arsenal.’47 The British Ministry of Defence predicted the use of space platforms ‘to mitigate the effects of climate change, or to harness climatological features in the support of military or strategic advantage.’48 The SPACECAST 2020 study published in 1994 advocated ‘a reexamination of this sensitive and potentially risky topic.’49 A couple of years later, the Air Force 2025 published a study advocating the use of the Pentagon’s complex weather observation satellites to take the next logical step and actually start weaponising the weather. The capabilities of the proposed system are: ‘Understanding and predicting local weather effects on military operations Precipitation inducement or suppression using particulate seeding or directed energy [which is where the airborne laser comes in] Fog generation/dissipation using directed energy techniques [ditto] Storm triggering/enhancement using airborne cloud seeding High-power microwave (HPM) devices (ground-based) and ionospheric mirrors for communications and radar enhancement/ disruption [via HAARP, discussed below] Ionospheric charging for spacecraft disruption using crossed HPM beams [ditto].’50 A decade later, James R. Fleming reported that ‘The NASA 47 Ashley Cleek, ‘Russian Scholar Warns of ‘Secret’ U.S. Climate Change Weapon’, Radio Free Europe, 30 July 2010. 48 Developments, Concepts and Doctrines Centre, ‘The DCDC Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036’, Ministry of Defence, 23 January 2007 (3rd edition), p. 65. 49 Cited in Nick Begich and Jeane Manning, Angels Don’t Play This HAARP: Advances in Tesla Technology (9th edition) (Anchorage: Earthpulse Press, 2007) p. 68. 50 Lt. Col. Jack A. Jackson, Jr. et al (see note 14) Institute for Advanced Concepts.....provided $475,000 for atmospheric scientist Ross Hoffman’s research on beaming satellite-based microwaves at hurricanes as a means of redirecting them’.51 We might speculate about how the Pentagon would use such technology in conjunction with cloud seeding, the HAARP ionospheric heater and the Air Force’s vast array of weather prediction systems. We know from a BBC documentary broadcast around 1998, posted online, that NASA has had the ability to form clouds for decades.52 Weather Modification Today? The World Meteorological Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and the World Health Organization have each confirmed that since 2000, hydro-meteorological phenomena, or water-related weather disasters, have reached record heights;53 and this is at a time when the UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that ‘Weather modification will continue to be explored.’ Chemtrail activists have documented thousands of hours of military aerial spray operations,54 beginning 1996 when the US Air Force announced that by 2025 it would ‘own 51 Fleming (see note 16) p. 58 52 BBC, Extreme Machines, 1998, 53 World Meteorological Organization, 2006, Preventing and mitigating natural disasters: Working together for a safer world, Geneva: Switzerland, Theresa Braine, ‘Was 2005 the year of natural disasters?’, World Health Organization, news release, undated (circa December, 2005), ; United Nations Environmental Programme, ‘2005 Breaks a String of Disastrous Weather Records’, 6 December, 2005, Brynjar Gauti, Julie Reed Bell and Seth Borenstein, ‘2010’s world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards’, Associated Press, 19 December, 2010, 54 Don’t Talk About the Weather, 2008, Ill Eagle Films, the weather.’ ‘The purpose of that paper was part of a thesis to outline a strategy for the use of a future weather modification system to achieve military objectives’, the Air Force acknowledged in 2000 (emphasis added).55 In 2008, Live Science reported: ‘An extensive and previously unknown “twilight zone” of particles in the atmosphere could complicate scientists’ efforts to determine how much the Earth’s climate will warm in the future.’ The report added that ‘recent satellite observations have found a zone of “in-between particles” in the air around clouds that was previously considered clear’ – and this came twelve years after activists began videotaping world-wide, daily military spraying operations. ‘[T]he newly detected zone is much more extensive, taking up as much as 60 percent of the atmosphere previously labelled as cloudfree.’ 56 We have seen that the US and UK have had the ability to cause massive floods and droughts for decades, and have used the technologies to devastating effect – even on their own people. Indeed, a US Navy weather modification document acquired by Wired magazine stated that the purposes of weather warfare are: ‘(1) To impede or deny the movement of personnel and material because of rains, floods, snow-blizzards, etc. (2) To disrupt economy due to the effect of floods, droughts, etc.’ 57 The weather weapon platforms are also moving into the space domain it would appear, with monstrosities like the HAARP heater, which targets the ozone layer and the electrojet. DEGRADE ENEMY FORCES ENHANCE FRIENDLY FORCES Precipitation Enhancement 55 United States Air Force, ‘Contrails Facts’, undated, AFD-051013- 001, 56 Andrea Thompson, ‘NASA Discovers ‘Twilight Zone’ of New Particles’, Live Science, 11 January, 2008, 57 Noah Shachtman, ‘Navy Research Paper: ‘Disrupt Economies’ with Man-made ‘Floods’ and ‘Droughts’’, Wired, 11 February, 2008, Precipitation Avoidance - Flood Lines of Communication - Maintain/Improve LOC - Reduce PGM/Recce Effectiveness - Maintain Visibility - Decrease Comfort Level/Morale - Maintain Comfort Level/Morale Storm Enhancement Storm Modification - Deny Operations - Choose Battlespace Environment Precipitation Denial Space Weather - Deny Fresh Water - Improve Communication Reliability - Induce Drought - Intercept Enemy Transmissions Space Weather - Revitalize Space Assets - Disrupt Communications/Radar Fog and Cloud Generation - Disable/Destroy Space Assets - Increase Concealment Fog and Cloud Removal - Deny Concealment - Maintain Airfield Operations - Increase Vulnerability to PGM/Recce - Enhance PGM Effectiveness Detect Hostile Weather Activities Defend against Enemy Capabilities The above comes from the Air Force document, Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.58 It must be an Air Force standard because it appeared a year later in a PowerPoint presentation given by Johns Hopkins University 58 Col. Tamzy J. House et al, see note 9. specialist Arnold A. Barnes at a ‘Weather Modification Test Technology Symposium’59 to officials from the Air Force, the Air Force Phillips Laboratory, and the Air Force Materiel Command. An Air Force document advocating the application of ‘benign weather modification’ – the biggest oxymoron since ‘military intelligence ’– noted back in 1997 that ‘The Chinese recognize the value of weather modification and believe, incorrectly, that the US military continues to use weather as a weapon.’ 60 The phrase ‘incorrectly’ is itself incorrect because as that paper was being written, the Johns Hopkins University symposium on weather warfare was taking place. Weather modification is taking place in China. ‘The Xinjiang region....... is home to the largest cloud-seeding operation in the world’, Vanity Fair reported in 2008. ‘It is a rare case where no one is blaming global warming for the weather.’ The weather modification activities have caused friction between Xinjiang province, where most of China’s oil is, and its neighbouring provinces.61 Geophysical warfare and the HAARP question Seismologists have had the ability to generate and/or trigger earthquakes for decades. As early as 1933, Japanese military scientists invented a hydrokinetic press that could generate tidal waves.62 A couple of years later, New York American ran a story which stated that ‘experiments in transmitting mechanical vibrations through the Earth – called by [inventor Nikola Tesla] “the art of telegeodynamics’”– were roughly described by the scientists as a sort of controlled 59 See note 11. 60 See note 45. 61 William Langewiesche, ‘Stealing Weather’, Vanity Fair, May, 2008, 62 T.D.J. Leech, ‘The Final Report Project “Seal”’, Department of Science and Industrial Research (Wellington), 18 December, 1950. Wellington: Government Printer, archived at earthquake.’63 Between 1944 and 1945, Britain and America commissioned a New Zealand scientist, Thomas Leech, to conduct a series of highly classified experiments involving the generation of tsunamis by detonating underwater bombs. The successful Project Seal took place in the Pacific and in the waters off Whangaparaoa during the final years of WWII. Project Seal was made public in 1999 when the investigative journalist Eugene Bingham came across then-recently declassified reports in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade archives. Bingham published the findings in the New Zealand Herald. ‘[T]he US and British militar[ies] were eager for Seal to be developed in the post-war years too’, he noted. ‘They even considered sending Professor Leech to Bikini Atoll to view the US nuclear tests and see if they had any application to his work’ (emphasis added).64 In a follow-up article, Bingham wrote: ‘Tsunami experts believe [the bomb] could be developed to devastating effect. University of Waikato researchers believe a modern approach to the wartime idea.....could produce waves up to 30m high.’ Doctor Willem de Lange, of the Department of Earth Sciences, was quoted as saying ‘if you had a series of explosions in the same place, it’s much more effective and can produce much bigger waves’ than the original 1 metre test trials.65 Explosion-generated waves became a popular ‘scientific’ activity during the 1950s and 1960s, with academic 63 Cited in Jason Jeffrey, ‘Earthquakes: Natural or Man-Made?’, New Dawn, No. 89, March-April, 2005, 64 Eugene Bingham, ‘Tsunami bomb NZ’s devastating war secret’, New Zealand Herald, 25 September 1999, 65 Eugene Bingham, ‘Devastating tsunami bomb viable, say experts’, New Zealand Herald, 28 September 1999, publications on the subject continuing into the 1980s.66 According to Jason Jeffrey, ‘earthquakes can be induced in five major ways: fluid injection into the Earth, fluid extraction from the Earth, mining or quarrying, nuclear testing and through the construction of dams and reservoirs.’ Jeffrey added that ‘Geologists discovered that disposal of waste fluids by means of injecting them deep into the Earth could trigger earthquakes after a series of quakes in the Denver area occurred from 1962-1965.’67 The Europhysics News journal inadvertently suggested that the US triggered an earthquake in Alaska in 1964 by detonating high-altitude bombs. ‘The first observation of ionospheric surface waves were obtained after a very large Alaskan quake in 1964. At that time, the ionosphere was monitored for the purpose of nuclear explosion detection, and both the theories and the instruments necessary for the interpretation of the atmospheric gravity waves generated by megatonic atmospheric explosions.’68 The Pentagon’s High-frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP), an ionospheric heater, can generate power equivalent to that of a nuclear weapon, and probably much more when pulsed. In the journal TAO Professor Sergey Pulinets wrote that ‘It is commonly accepted that the Good Friday Alaska [quake in 1964] gave seismo-ionospheric coupling studies its initial impetus.’69 The interactions between the Earth’s electromagnetic waves and the 66 See, for example, M. Bath, and E. Tryggvason, ‘Amplititudes of explosion-generated seismic waves’, Pure and Applied Geophysics, Vol. 51, No. 1, January 1962, pp. 91-9; J.L. Stevens, ‘Estimation of scalar moments from explosion-generated surface waves’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 76, No. 1, February 1986, pp. 123-51; L.D.Trembly, and J.W. Berg, ‘Seismic source characteristics from explosion-generated P waves’, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 58, No. 6, December 1968, pp. 1833-48. 67 Jason Jeffrey, see note 63. 68 Philippe Lognonné, Raphael Garcia, François Crespon, Giovanni Occhipinti, Alam Kherani and Juliette Artru-Lambin, ‘Seismic waves in the ionosphere’, Europhysics News, Volume 37, Number 4, 2005. 69 Sergey Pulinets, ‘Ionospheric Precursors of Earthquakes; Recent Advances in Theory and Practical Applications’, TAO, Vol. 15, No. 3, September 2004, pp. 413-435. ionosphere have long been a subject of military interest. In 1968, the New Statesman’s science correspondent, Nigel Calder, edited a book titled, Unless Peace Comes: A Scientific Forecast of New Weapons. One chapter, titled ‘How to Wreck the Environment’, was authored by Lyndon B. Johnson’s Science Advisor, Gordon J.F. MacDonald, who noted: ‘Environmental instability is a situation in which nature has stored energy in some parts of the Earth or in its surroundings far in excess of that which is usual. To trigger this instability, the required energy might be introduced violently by explosions or gently by small bits of material able to induce rapid changes by acting as catalysts.......Effects of releasing this energy could be world-wide, as in the case of altering climate, or regional, as in the case of locally excited earthquakes or enhanced precipitation.’70 MacDonald also noted the possibility of deep-Earth fluid injection, but claimed that such activities would be easily detectable and therefore no good for covert projects. In 2009, the Telegraph reported that a Swiss geologist caused an earthquake when he attempted ‘to generate power commercially by boiling water on naturally occurring rocks 3 miles underground......The pressurised water being sent down the shaft was immediately stopped after [triggering a] 3.4 magnitude quake.’71 Returning to the use of electromagnetic waves, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bearden informed the US Psychotronics Association in 1981 that ‘Tesla found that he could set up standing the Earth (the molten core), or, just set it up through the rocks’ (Jeffrey’s ellipsis). It was ‘the telluric activity in the rocks [that] would furnish activity into these waves and one would get more potential energy in 70 Gordon J.F. MacDonald, ‘How to Wreck the Environment’ in Nigel Calder (editor), Unless Peace Comes: A Scientific Forecast of New Weapons, (London: Pelican, 1968) pp. 119-213. 71 ‘Geologist stands trial for triggering earthquakes in Switzerland’, Daily Telegraph, 16 December, 2009, those waves than he put in. He called the concept the Tesla Magnifying Transmitter (TMT).’72 It is significant and disturbing that the Psychotronics Association expressed an interest in this technology because MacDonald’s chapter, quoted above, noted that ‘The enhanced low-frequency electrical oscillations in the Earth-ionosphere cavity relate to possible weapon systems through a littleunderstood aspect of brain physiology.’ HAARP emits these low frequency waves. HAARP According a Russian State Duma publication in 2002, HAARP ‘will create weapons capable of breaking radio communication lines and equipment installed on spaceships and rockets, provoke serious accidents in electricity networks and in oil and gas pipelines and have a negative impact on the mental health of people populating entire regions.’ The State Duma pointed out that America is controlling three ionospheric facilities. ‘When these facilities are launched into space from Norway, Alaska and Greenland, a closed contour will be created with a truly fantastic integral potential for influencing the near-Earth medium.’ The three heaters set-up is the ‘Tesla triode’ of which Bearden spoke in 1981.73 The inventor of HAARP, Bernard Eastlund, based his ‘inventions’ on the work of Tesla. Eastlund’s ideas included transforming the ionosphere into a plasma that could be directed to destroy incoming missiles upon re-entry. Other ideas included weather modification.74 Commenting on his late father’s patents, his son Robert Eastlund said: ‘The idea was that by heating up the atmosphere, you could move the Jet Stream, bringing rain away from places or taking rain to 72 Cited by Jason Jeffrey, see note 63. 73 The Federation of American Scientists, ‘Russian parliament concerned about US plans to develop new weapon’, No. FBIS-SOV- 2002-0808, 8 August, 2002, at . 74 The details are in Nick Begich and Jeane Manning, see note 49, places.’75 Congress approved funding for HAARP in 1990. The project is owned by the US Air Force and Navy, funded through DARPA, and developed by BAE Systems. In 1997, as the Air Force’s Geophysical Directive was bombarding the atmosphere with electromagnetic pulses, Bill Clinton’s Defense Secretary, William Cohen, spoke at the Sam Nunn Policy Forum at Georgia University, at which he mentioned the possibility of some actors, though he did not specify whom, creating ethnospecific viruses, the Ebola virus, and insect-machine hybrids. We know from Project for the New American Century, NASA, and DARPA documents that the US is working on each of those. Cohen added: ‘Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves. So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts. (Emphasis added)76 Given that everything else Cohen mentioned (insect-machines, Ebola, ethno-viruses) are being openly worked on by the Pentagon,77 why wouldn’t the use of geophysical warfare also be in the pipeline? Just as the Pentagon claimed that it wanted to prevent a ‘space Pearl Harbor’ and a ‘weather Pearl 75 Interviewed in Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura: “HAARP”, truTV, 2009, 76 William Cohen, ‘Cohen address 4/28 at Conference on Terrorism: Weapons of Mass Destruction, and U.S. Strategy’, University of Georgia, 28 April, 1997, . 77 For the development of insect-machine hybrids, see Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ‘Hybrid Insect MEMS (HIMEMS)’, Solicitation Number: BAA06-22, 9 March, 2006. For the creation and spread of Ebola, see Dennis M. Bushnell, ‘Future Strategic Issues/Future Warfare [Circa 2025]’, NASA Langley Research Center, undated, archived by the Federation of American Scientists, at . For ethno-specific viruses, see Central Intelligence Agency, ‘The Darker Bioweapons Future’, 3 November 2003, . Harbor’, Cohen was basically saying that the US is engaging in eco-terrorism under the pretext of preventing, what might be called an ‘earthquake Pearl Harbor.’ Cohen was using the same propaganda coupled with old technologies and new advances in microwave weapons. Also in 1997, USAF’s Geophysical Directorate stated that their ‘Seismic program’ had been transferred to the Defense Nuclear Agency.78 This might indicate that nuclear weapons could be used to cause earthquakes, via subterranean detonations or high altitude explosions. A year after Cohen’s speech, the European Parliament published a statement calling for an investigation into HAARP, which ‘can, in theory, create geomagnetic pathways to guide particle beams which could then deposit large amounts of energy anywhere on the globe’ – just as Cohen said.79 It is possible that the ‘geomagnetic pathways’ are those generated by HAARP’s ability to deposit extremely low frequency waves into a given area for the purpose of tomography, or ‘x-raying’ the Earth for hidden bunkers and mineral resources. According to the Air Force Materiel Command’s Geophysical Directive, HAARP could do this as far back as 1996. In 1999, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy drafted a Motion for a Resolution, which was adopted with only one abstention. The Resolution states that the Parliament: ‘Considers virtue of its far-reaching impact on the environment to be a global concern and calls for its legal, ecological and ethical implications to be examined by an international independent body before any further research and testing; regrets the repeated refusal of the 78 United States Air Force Materiel Command, ‘FY97 Geophysics Technology Area Plan’, 1 May 1996, Directorate of Science and Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, . 79 Maj Britt Theorin (Rapporteur), ‘Report on the environment, security and foreign policy’, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy, European Parliament, 14 January, 1999, A4-0005/99, DOC_EN\RR\370\370003 PE 227.710/fin at United States Administration [then Clinton’s] to send anyone in person to give evidence to the public hearing or any subsequent meeting held by its competent committee into the environmental and public risks connected with the [project].’ The Resolution continued: ‘The project would also allow better communications with submarines and manipulation of global weather patterns [the significance of ‘global’ weather patterns]..... The earth’s magnetic field could be disrupted over large areas, which would obstruct radio communications. According to US scientists it could take hundreds of years for the Van Allen belt to return to normal..... It could also influence whole ecosystems (emphases added).’80 The Resolution also requested an investigation into HAARP but the investigation was stalled; and, in 2003, the Parliament was told that HAARP ‘is a military programme. The [European] Commission has no competence, nor indeed the expertise, to carry out the examination requested by the Parliament.’81 In 2007 BAE Systems announced that the company had completed the final stages of HAARP.82 Owning the weather? For several years now, specialists such as the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme have reported that water-related weather (hydro-meteorological phenomena) is becoming more frequent and more severe. Are the American military now using weather weapons? In May 2010, having been warned off by the US, Iran and Pakistan signed a long-standing pipeline deal, and in July 80 Ibid. 81 Wallström, ‘Parliamentary questions’, E-1453/2003, 3 July, 2003, 82 BAE Systems, ‘BAE Systems completes world’s premiere facility for ionospheric physics research’, news release, Ref. 209/2007, 27 June, 2007, of that year, Pakistan announced that it would not bow to American demands and proceeded with the pipeline construction in July 2010.83 Pakistan was then hit with the worst flood in its history just a few weeks later.84 It was reported in Pakistan’s The Nation: ‘We witnessed that when one flood flow passed us by, the meteorological authorities would predict a second storm system developing over the area and warned the nation of subsequent floods of the same or increased intensity. This happened over and over. Then the rumours started spreading. It was alleged that our classic and reliable friend – the United States of America – is manipulating the weather over Pakistan.... [H]ad it been a natural monsoon phenomenon, rains would be widespread not over the same area again and again.’85 Six months later, the Balochistan region, through which the pipeline runs, was hit with an earthquake.86 ‘In its initial reports the US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake happened at a depth of just 10km...... However, a later bulletin from the USGS revised the depth of the quake to 84km, potentially limiting the effects.’87 Earthquake confusion bedevilled other regions. America’s The Nation reported ‘....a lot of confusion about the tsunami early warning messages [in 2004].... released by Thailand disaster related agencies such as Meteorological Department, National Disaster Warning Center, and Mineral Resources Department. Japanese seismicists [sic] and geologists are being doubtful about the recent Great East 83 See, for example, Kari Lipschutz ‘The Iran-Pakistan Pipeline’, Off News, 14 July, 2010, 84 BBC News Online, ‘Pakistan Floods: World Bank to lend $900m for recovery’, 17 August 2010, 10994989> 85 A.R. Jerral, ‘Weather Manipulation’, The Nation (Pakistan), 14 September 2010, 86 BBC News Online, ‘Pakistan: strong earthquake hits south-west’, 18 January 2011, 87 BBC: see note 86 Japan earthquake [in 2011] with 9 magnitude and killed over ten thousand people [in 2011], saying it was an abnormal phenomenon....Moreover, at least 7 earthquakes with magnitude between 5 to 7 had occurred after the killer earthquake near Sendai.’ The Nation quoted Professor Michio Hashizume of Chulalongkorn University’s Department of Geology as saying, ‘These series of quakes are not the aftershocks. So far, nobody could explain how these small quakes linked with the earthquake in Sendai.’88 In 1999, the European Parliament had reported that America’s Alaska-based ionospheric heater, High-frequency Active Auroral Research Programme, could use Tesla resonance technology in order to trigger earthquakes.89 The technology has been known since at least 1968, when Lyndon B. Johnson’s science advisor, Gordon J.F. MacDonald wrote a chapter titled ‘How to Wreck the Environment’ for Nigel Calder’s book Unless Peace Comes.90 At the time of the 2010 Haiti earthquakes, Pravda reported that a Russian Northern Fleet document ‘warns that there is a U.S. plan to destroy Iran through a series of earthquakes.’91 One HAARP developer, Constance Papadopoulos, told the Wired magazine propagandist Noah Shachtman that ‘It can’t reach Iran..... But if I put Haarp on a ship, or on an oil platform, who knows?’92 Why would 88 Pongphon Sarnsamak, ‘Scientists puzzled by earthquakes’, The Nation, 15 March 15, 2011, 89 Maj Britt Theorin (Rapporteur), ‘Report on the environment, security and foreign policy’, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy, European Parliament, 14 January, 1999 A4-0005/99, DOC_EN\RR\370\370003 PE 227.710/fin., at 90 Gordon J.F. MacDonald, ‘How to Wreck the Environment’ in Nigel Calder (editor), Unless Peace Comes: A Scientific Forecast of New Weapons, (London: Penguin, 1970) pp. 119-213. 91 Lisa Karpova, ‘Haiti: The U.S. Created the Earthquake in Haiti?’, Pravda, 24 January, 2010, 92 Noah Shachtman, ‘Strange New Air Force Facility Energizes Ionosphere, Fans Conspiracy Flames’, Wired Magazine, 17:8, 20 July, 2009, Papadopoulos need to put HAARP on a sea platform when an ionospheric heater already exists near Iran in Tajikistan?93 Within a year of the Pravda warning, Iran and Pakistan were hit with an earthquake.94 The exploitation of the atmosphere for weather modification and/or geophysical warfare is strictly prohibited by the ENMOD Convention (1977). The exponential rise of hydro-meteorological phenomena in countries that the US had explicitly targeted for new types of warfare, coupled with the frequency of hard-to-explain earthquakes, should be enough to make us seriously consider the possibility that environmental warfare is now a part of America’s New World Order canon. T.J. Coles is a guest writer with Axis of Logic ( 93 Begich and Manning, Angels Don’t Play This HAARP, (see note 49) p. 194. 94 For several years, DARPA has had a Gravity Anomaly for Tunnel Exposure system in its possession, which reads gravitational anomalies in the Earth in order to map the location of tunnels. According to David Hambling in Wired * DARPA ‘has already reached the stage of integrating the gravity gradiometer and signal processing payloads and mounting them in an unmanned aircraft, and have been “verifying performance in relevant geologic environments.”’ Hambling added that ‘there is a parallel Seismic and Acoustic Vibration Imaging effort’ at DARPA, which the organisation ‘describes as a mobile system using “an integrated, laser vibrometry system to detect seismic wave anomalies.” This might be another airborne sensor’, Hambling reported, ‘though it might still need to drop something to produce shockwaves to create the seismic and acoustic vibration to be detected.’ That ‘something’ could be pulsed electromagnetic power, or waves, that match the frequency resonance of the targeted area. The amplification could cause seismic vibrations, thereby triggering earthquakes. * ‘Pentagon Scientists Target Iran’s Nuclear Mole Men’, Wired Danger Room, 12 January, 2010, Some agent protection issues and more comment on SIS PR Corinne Souza SIS lifestyle management services All intelligence organisations can provide expertise and insider knowledge of a personal nature to staff, agents and favoured others. This may range from the mundane: home repairs carried out by vetted suppliers, say, to the more glitzy, for example access to exclusive clubs and events without reference to a waiting list. The equivalent in the private sector is provided to wealthy clients by banks, PR agencies and what are called concierge service companies offering a ‘lifestyle management service’ as a product. ‘Destination specialists’ can offer the same assistance overseas. The SIS has always offered this type of service although for obvious reasons its components have changed over the years. At one time, access to British private medicine – Harley Street or private wings of world renowned NHS London teaching hospitals – was highly prized; until wealthy but undeveloped nations wised up and built their own top of the range facilities. In consequence it became difficult for their citizens who were of interest to the SIS to travel to Britain under the often genuine pretext of seeking medical treatment for, say, an elderly relative or sick child they were escorting. Being entertained by the equivalent of ‘celebrities’, or those close to them, was also an SIS staple. My late father, an agent in the 1960s and 1970s, was puffed with pride when in the early 1960s he was invited to a private lunch by John Harvey MP – the Commons’ ‘oil’ man – who was also former constituency chairman to Second World War Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. ‘To think, he knew the Great Man!’ my father would say in wonder. It is impossible to overestimate what the name ‘Churchill’ meant in those days. Gifts could also form part of what the SIS was offering. If, for example, a trusted agent advised it would be wise for the SIS to give a present to an important overseas friend who refused other inducement but was interested in, say, philately, it could arrange to have a philatelic addition created via a reputable printing company. This had the merit of costing the British taxpayer nothing while offering unreserved delight to the person for whom it was designed. My father recommended such an eventuality twice and on both occasions it was fulfilled. The honourable officials with whom he dealt and the upright company executives – regrettably it is no longer British – who provided the gift were scrupulous to ensure that by building-in the necessary checks there could be no philatelic profiteering.1 Libya: agent protection issues The top-end end of the SIS lifestyle management service today was exposed earlier this year when Moussa Koussa landed in Britain by private jet; his corruptly acquired assets were unfrozen in record time; the press reported that the SIS had previously colluded on his behalf in the kidnap and rendition of a Libyan national who, with his pregnant wife, was returned to Libya, imprisoned and tortured; and he was able to leave Britain for the safety of Qatar even though he was a murderer and torturer wanted for questioning by the British, American and Libyan police. A lesser but still deluxe example of the same service was that extended to Saif Gaddafi. In London he was supplied with a bodyguard, direct phone number, tame university school and doctorate. Spooks always want to know whose son is on the up/down and will 1 SIS will have built in similar controls following the sale of paintings from its imaginative centenary art exhibition this year. These may include restrictions on the paintings’ resale and provisions allowing the exhibition to be re-staged at some time in the future. If numbered prints are made and given as gifts from the taxpayer to SIS friends, the lower numbered prints are likely to be blocked, only the higher numbers released. do much to please either or both. This is their job. Some of the matters arising will have been of interest to those recently recruited or considering working with SIS, whether as staff or agent: criminal collusion tends to concentrate the mind. Particularly traumatised will be some individuals of other authoritarian nations, seeking the overthrow of their leaders and sharing information with SIS in the belief they have complimentary goals.2 Others will have watched events unravel with a different priority. For example, long-standing SIS friends will have noted the benefits provided by SIS to Moussa Koussa and Saif Gaddafi setting the bar by which they may measure their own worth. As many will have been interested in whether or not SIS remains loyal to the men. If it does not, it will function less effectively. This is the reason why Moussa Koussa was allowed to leave Britain for Qatar. His SIS case officer – I assume this was Sir Mark Allen – will have been aware of Koussa’s hideous background but also the risks Koussa will have taken over a long period to work with SIS, and the security and other benefits Britain may have enjoyed as result. It is also why, if Saif Gaddafi makes it to the court in The Hague, it is likely that he will call SIS as a witness in his defence. Sent by his father to liaise with the SIS, it groomed him from a relatively young age. In addition, a leading British university, knowing the background, accepted substantial funds from him when the money belonged to the Libyan people. The cosiness of the correspondence between the SIS and the former Gaddafi regime is also repellent. However, flattery goes with the territory – whether or not a recipient is a ‘friend’ in spook terms – as does appreciation of cultural nuance where extreme warmth and expression of friendship is important. (Sir Mark Allen was condemned for signing off letters ‘your friend Mark’. Other SIS letters were even more 2 Government policy change – e.g. engagement with Colonel Gaddafi rather than maintaining his pariah status – is always difficult for case officers because it can mean leaving some agents high-and-dry. This was certainly the case in my father’s day when some Iraqi and Kurdish SIS friends felt utterly betrayed when it became known that irrespective of what was being said in public, the British government was supporting Saddam Hussein. odious.) To argue that Sir Mark should not have been in touch with recipients in the first place is one thing; to argue that the way he did so was also wrong is another. The traditional and frequently hypocritical British end to a letter - ‘yours sincerely’ – would have been no better. Much was also made of the fact that Sir Mark allegedly accepted a gift of dates and oranges. So far as I am aware, only the Daily Mail quoted what could be Sir Mark’s letter referring to it: ‘This is an informal letter to reach you by hand of Khalid who has just arrived in London with a very large volume of dates and oranges.’3 In this instance the ‘dates and oranges’ brought by ‘Khalid’ may not have been a gift at all but could have been a necessary euphemism to protect the courier carrying important information. Certainly this was the case in my father’s day when in order to confirm that information had arrived safely, ubiquitous Middle Eastern names such as ‘Khalid’, and ‘boxes of dates’ figured in similar letters.4 Protecting agents: Lady Neville-Jones Another agent protection issue – I would say one of the most important on recent public record – arose when Lady Neville- Jones, formerly Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, told Home Secretary Theresa May that Mrs. May did not have ‘sufficient security clearance’ to view raw intelligence about a potential terrorist attack. I believe Lady Neville-Jones was right to do so. This is because one of the most solemn promises made to agents – even unpalatable ones – when they are recruited, is that other than in edited form, no-one has access to the material – ‘dates and oranges’, perhaps? – provided. Lady Neville-Jones defended this principle and when it was not adhered to resigned as Minister of State for Security and 3 Daily Mail, 5 September 2011 4 Not everything in my father’s papers was as straightforward. For example, I came across what looked like a scientific formula in one of his diaries. It was repeated every time he travelled to a particular European city. It was not until its final noting that I discovered what it was: a recipe for his case officer’s wife’s face-cream. On this occasion he had written beside it: Why can’t she go to Boots the Chemist like everybody else. Counter Terrorism (May 2011). In misogynist wall-to-wall coverage of two senior women pitched against each other, the press ran with the resignation but only one newspaper, the News of the World, had the integrity to report the principle at stake.5 A Cabinet Office source was quoted as follows: ‘It is unusual for a Home Secretary to see raw intelligence files. He or she is usually given a briefing, or edited extract. But there is no reason why they cannot see them and it has been done in the recent past. The security services are sometimes reluctant to do so but that is in their nature. Baroness Neville-Jones always felt she was closer to the agents than to her fellow politicians.....’ With agent protection as my interest, two things stand out. First, the admission that a secretary of state can see raw intelligence and ‘it has been done in the recent past’, means a key agent principle no longer applies. This throws up many questions including which intelligence chief was so weak that s/he allowed such basic agent protection to be jettisoned in the first place? And is its jettisoning made clear to active or prospective agents so they may make an informed choice as to whether or not to work with Britain? Given the removal of other agent protection measures – not least, and as exposed by wikileaks, committing so much to electronic media – it is to the SIS’s credit that so many continue to work with it.6 The debacle over special adviser Adam Werrity which led to the resignation of Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox, highlights further why raw intelligence should continue to be withheld. The alarm Dr Fox’s conduct will have caused the SIS agent community in general, as well as parts of it specifically, is incalculable. The time it took officials 5 News of the World, 15 May 2011. Incidentally, the phone-hacking scandal which collapsed the News of the World appears to have been ring-fenced to it. Otherwise it would most certainly have unravelled by various paths into other areas including the intelligence agencies. 6 The degree to which correspondence has been committed to paper as well as on-line is absolutely astonishing. In my father’s day, SIS even collected his typewriter ribbon for safe disposal. to offload him is equally damning, indicative of much, including lack of respect for even elementary agent safeguards. This may have placed substantial strain on diligent SIS case officers prioritising agent safety, and dealing with those already under pressure, not least from their frightened families if they suspect or are aware of the SIS relationship. Sometimes they are. Second, the comment: ‘Baroness Neville-Jones always felt she was closer to the agents than to her fellow politicians.’ A good case-officer, no matter how high she may fly or how much opprobrium she may attract over this or other issues, maintains a lifelong commitment to her agents. Lady Neville- Jones demonstrated not only her ongoing loyalty but also the seriousness with which she continued to view this duty of care. The death of an SIS case officer This duty of care was exemplified by one of my family’s case officers about whose death this year I was sad to learn. He is the reason I heard at firsthand as a young adult that raw intelligence reports were not passed to others, and no matter the political pressure, certainly not to a secretary of state.7 But then, unlike some officials, he did not have a weak bone in his body. My late father was proud to work with him over a long period not least because, and unlike another of my father’s case officers, agent safety was fundamental to him. Absolutely fearless, this case officer took more risks than ever he wanted his agents to do, and was living proof that a strong moral compass can survive even when pushed to the limits. His obituary in a national newspaper was truncated necessarily because aspects of his work, or post-SIS commercial career, are likely to remain sensitive; but also because a true account may undermine the legend surrounding the early career of one of his much younger 7 The case officer said also that when the staff retired from the intelligence services, they no longer had security clearance to access ‘raw intelligence’. That is, in his day, Lady Pauline Neville-Jones’ security clearance status would have been lowered, if not removed, even though she had become a government minister colleagues, the late SIS Chief Sir David Spedding. I do not know whether the unusual placing of a book review beside the obituary was also a current SIS ‘alert’, or padding to replace the paragraphs pulled. However, one omission baffled me: his role as exemplary case-officer, the lifeblood of the SIS, was not mentioned. It should have been for three reasons: as fitting tribute to the man, weighted example to the SIS case officers who follow him, and as a vehicle to include the agents and their families in collective loving homage to his memory. Sir John Scarlett: reputation of agents The exclusion is an indication that the SIS does not always seem to understand, let alone know how to communicate, its own DNA. This was exemplified when, speaking to the Daily Telegraph about the history of MI6 he had commissioned while still SIS Chief, Sir John Scarlett explained: ‘In the language of those times, it was a profession that was respectable for gentlemen......Clearly, with foreigners it was completely different – all sorts of ‘scallywags’, as they put it, were involved...’8 Accepting he meant no disrespect, at a stroke Sir John diminished the reputation of those ‘foreigners’. Not all have a CV like Moussa Koussa. While the case officer I mention above served at a different period to the one Sir John is describing, at no time would he have referred to ‘foreign’ colleagues – men like my father – as ‘scallywags’. The SIS case officer I knew who used the expression was the White Russian racist Alexis Forte. He did so in front of me when I was a teenager to disparage ‘foreign’ agents or their sources, usually of a different skin colour to his own. Imitating faux-British deprecation and affection, it could not be argued against since this would be to look oversensitive. It was an insult – as Alexis intended it to be. Given our country’s need for engagement with ‘foreigners’, and the good manners which should dictate how we refer to the majority who have gone before, Sir John’s hackneyed comments were at the very least poor PR. A spook 8 Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2011 chief, even a retired one, who has international expertise but no domestic sense of context or history, should not be speaking to the press without a PR minder. This lack of minder was further highlighted when Sir John inadvertently forced the pulling of a press statement by Foreign Secretary William Hague on the day the last British troops left Iraq: it was reported at the same time that Sir John – who helped Prime Minister Blair make the case for the illegal invasion of Iraq – had taken a top job with an oil firm in the country. Adept SIS PR campaign continues Nevertheless and in spite of ongoing reputational damage, SIS continues to run an adept stand-alone PR campaign. Doubtless coincidentally, it was bookended this year by two BBC radio programmes: Tom Mangold’s Ship of Spies broadcast on the BBC World Service in February 2011 and Andrew Marr’s Start the week discussion with Gordon Corera, Rosemary Hollis, Frank Ledwidge and Rory Stewart MP in October 2011. The latter was a ‘safe-hands’ controlled explosion if ever there was one, presumably in preparation for swingeing criticism heading the SIS’s way this November in the report of the Iraq inquiry. The former was a rotten trick and absolutely first class British stitch-up: while US spooks were on a cruise, the Brits were hosting a cerebral art exhibition (see below). So, the legend goes, retired American spies welcome divergence including living the high life and partying, whereas retired British spies get lost in the arts. Well no, actually they don’t. They get lost in academia and filthy lucre – but that is not part of the PR story.9 Broadcast all over the world as the young of the Middle East and North Africa were in uproar, an aged line- 9 Academia: spies have always been intimately involved in the various cartels operating in universities, although these days this may also be because association with a leading university boosts a commercial career: it has replaced elevation to the House of Lords in the prestige stakes. Schoolchildren are also of interest. See ‘GCHQ linguists and scientists are running after-school clubs and taster sessions for languages that are rarely taught in Britain’, The Times, 8 January 2011. up of former top US spooks spoke in favour of torture....10 SIS local outreach The SIS itself is rightly moving away from the media-centric approach to communication. The big beasts of spook journalism cannot be bypassed when operations hit the headlines but can by specifically created PR outreach events.11 These have cleverly been introduced by the SIS to protect against issue dominance and, while not reclaiming the narrative, takes dialogue away from the usual suspects letting in non-spook commentary. In this case, the PR events were a niche art exhibition depicting modern life in the service commissioned by Sir John Scarlett while still the SIS Chief, and Sir John’s attendance at the Hay Book Festival in Cheltenham to talk about MI6’s official history which, as noted above, he also commissioned.12 10 Colleen Graffy, US deputy assistant secretary of state 2005–2009, made an interesting comment about influencing young people. Writing in the Sunday Times, 11 September 2011, she said: ‘In 2008 the State Department joined forces with Google, Facebook and others to teach social activists around the world how to use social media to advance positive changes for civil society. This included learning how to switch over Sim cards from mobiles and protect online identities. One attendee was from Egypt: he said he and his fellow activists planned to overthrow President Mubarak through the use of social media.’ 11 Local outreach has become necessary because SIS can no longer control narrative polarisation. Nor can the government. At one time it was able to deride protesters for having no unifying narrative in the same way a decade ago it derided environment protesters – who did – for their single issue politics. The collapse of Polarisation PR also makes it more difficult for it to sustain immoral armament deals and foreign policy. 12 I deliberately use the old-fashioned term ‘public relations’ (PR) even though today it is a part of what is known collectively as ‘comms’ (‘communications’). ‘Communications’ means having the strategic planning skills to ensure the most influential channels are used to tell the story to the right audience. It is selective – e.g. the then SIS Chief Sir Richard Dearlove addressing Lloyds of London, a nonrepresentative and passive audience; rather than, say, the Law Society, a more representative and potentially aggressive one. ‘Public Relations’ is to address both which will become increasingly necessary as the impact and loss of Polarisation PR becomes felt. Both events, neither of which I attended, ostensibly engaged the public on its own terms but in fact prevented examination of the SIS brand and its landscape. Both created new brand ambassadors and positioned the citizen as a performer with, say, the art gallery as the stage, the art as props and those memorably described by the Daily Telegraph’s Arts correspondent as ‘a coven of foreign office wallahs in pinstripe suits and black brogues’, as fellow performers straight out of central casting.13 The book festival acted in the same way. Sir John Scarlett may well have been on the stage but the audience were in fact the people who performed.14 SIS Photo PR The SIS made one of its boldest PR moves when it issued two apparently amateur photographs when Sir John Sawers succeeded Sir John Scarlett as its chief.15 First, in a wonderful piece of no-spin spin, an interactive photo of Sir John in his speedos was officially released. Taken by his wife, it told spy chiefs in authoritarian countries that Britain is a civilian nation and its spies conform to its culture; it told taxpayers that Sir John is of, not above, the people; and, crucially, that his wife is his equal, can present him as she will including inviting the 13 See Arts review in Daily Telegraph, 21 February 2011. 14 Upmarket supermarkets use the same trick to flog food products: the Jamie Oliver cookbook and advertising phenomenon is about no more than positioning the consumer as a performer with his/her own kitchen as stage, kitchen appliances as props, and guests as the audience. It is traditional social networking doing what its electronic offspring does on a mass scale: connecting brands and consumers by curbing, controlling, nudging and monitoring behaviour. I would not be at all surprised if in due course SIS PR goes into gaming which is likely to have a similar impact on the world as social networks. 15 Photographs have always been one of the easiest ways to judge a nation’s development. For example, those released of Prime Minister Putin are always a ‘look at me’ command, never interactive. He changes his accessories – most recently a lion cub – but the technique has not been updated since the Soviet era: while lacking its iconic status, in technique the photograph of Putin’s cuddle with a lion cub is no different from the Brezhnev/Honecker kiss. public – especially women – to giggle at him with her.16! It was perfect for the post-prestige era: think The Office and you will see how the trick works.17 Its internet companion was wholly different and equally good. Unlike the speedo shot, it had to be taken seriously. It was a non-interactive bling photo with the necessary celebrity association: a gold-plated Kalashnikov which once belonged to Saddam Hussein allegedly held by Sir John’s daughter under the family Christmas tree.18 However tasteless, it was perfect 16 The best example of British no-spin spin was at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics 2008. China showcased its virtual image technology – the projection of lifelike holograms of models among actual models on a real-life catwalk – showing-off its military software capabilities in the process. Its virtual/flesh-and-blood regimented beauties then gave way to a bunch of British youngsters, in no order whatsoever, of all shapes, sizes and colours, mucking around doing their own thing on a London bus: subversive communications at their best which I still laugh about. Post-Beijing, China’s Panda PR gains increasing momentum: a foreign relations commercial juggernaut and state metaphor, the subliminal messaging being that like the peaceful bamboo-eating giant that is under threat, the Chinese people are also peaceful but similarly under threat. Note: The opening and closing ceremonies of events such as the Olympics allow nations to make a ‘big’ (PR) statement to the world because the world is watching. Particularly noticeable in Beijing were beautiful Arab princesses in elegant Islamic dress leading out their national teams – while our leaders watched Team GB from the stands. The subtext being in Islam, women are leaders of men. Not when puritanical Islam has anything to do with it! 17 In the comedy, which purports to be a ‘fly-on-the-wall documentary’ without a narrator, there is a noticeable difference in the way the characters behave when caught on camera as opposed to playing to the camera. 18 Unlike interactive PR which can invite two-way dialogue – e.g. if a man wears a particular necktie – Bling PR is always associated with global celebrity: e.g. Prime Minister Putin and Presidents Obama and Sarkozy wearing a conspicuous pair of mirrored wraparounds because Tom Cruise wears them too. This identifies them among young people, especially overseas, as ‘cool’ – the same group SIS is targeting with the gold Kalashnikov photo. Celebrity PR: the reason why so much is expected of Prince William and his wife is because of the potential pulling power of their global celebrity. This could be cheaper on the taxpayer than, say, hiring international stars to perform at Buckingham Palace in front of important state guests. (Kevin Spacey and Sharon Stone were paid a reported £100,000 each for co-hosting Mikhail Gorbachev’s 80th birthday charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Evening Standard, 1 April 2011) low key Statement PR – and also a warning-command to interested parties, such as at the time, perhaps Colonel Gaddafi, and today possibly the President of Syria.19 Looked at together, the photos are an indication of the PR journey the SIS has travelled in the nearly twenty years since it was first officially acknowledged. Back then, for example, it was thought that all that was required to tick the local outreach box was for the SIS Chief to invite an actor to Christmas lunch at Vauxhall Cross because she happened to star in the Bond movies. Today, this crass populism has been replaced by the ‘authenticity’ of the ‘speedo’ shot.20 Ten years ago, the bling/celebrity element of Statement PR projecting SIS overseas – which is what the ostentation of Vauxhall Cross is all about – was the hosting of what amounted to a state funeral for former SIS Chief Sir David Spedding: as a rule, the Brits tend not to eulogise dead spy chiefs.21 Today, the gold Kalashnikov photograph takes its place. It serves the same purpose but without the unhealthy, un-British spook aggrandisement, is substantially cheaper on 19 In her Christmas broadcast 2010, the Queen had an attempt at Statement PR in a clumsy merging of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and sport: Christianity is the only faith challenger to Islam especially in Africa, sport its secular equivalent. Incidentally, regarding Syria, I hear the phrase ‘Syrian Oil’ repeatedly. Have they swiped it from their neighbour Iraq? Have post-invasion borders slipped a bit? At one time Syria didn’t have any oil but I accept I could be decades out of date. 20 Photo PR: done well, photography can be a powerful PR aid. For example, the photograph released by supporters of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic when he was captured presented him as a simple child. Because of its association with the late Princess of Wales, an iconic photo opportunity awaits any national leader’s wife brave enough to sit in front of the Taj Mahal. President Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni, went to immense lengths to avoid doing so, so as not to invite comparison. 21 Statement PR: we are beginning to see the re-emergence of ‘big’ Statement PR in America as One World Trade Center in New York nears completion. It is due to open in 2014 avoiding the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War (2013). It delivers a knockout PR response to puritanical militant Islam’s Statement PR, 2001. The latter was in two parts: it began in the East with the destruction of Afghanistan’s two towering 2000 year old masterpieces, the Bahmiyan Buddhas. Heritage but not lives were lost; followers of an ancient faith Continues at the foot of the next page. the taxpayer and rightly removes the public from the statement. Clothing is also being used as part of a PR mosaic. For example, while the media concentrated on what hats a present and former Prime Ministers’ wife was wearing on Remembrance Sunday 2010, it failed to comment on a more important Cenotaph debut: Brits – albeit looking uncomfortable and grumpy - marching in the headgear of the Arab Legions, a historically inaccurate but necessary inclusion.22 Foreign Office examples include the Queen visiting Ireland for the first time and wearing a green coat; and following tragedy in Japan, Foreign Secretary William Hague interviewed in front of chrysanthemums.23 Only the EU’s foreign minister – Britain’s Kathy Ashton – messed up. Speaking in Cairo about Colonel Gaddafi/EU foreign policy and interviewed on Newsnight she wore a noticeable gold broach. Glinting in the camera lights, it looked like the 6 pointed star of Israel doing neither Israel nor the EU any favours.24 Note 21 continued: ‘warned’ and traumatised. It ended, in PR terms, in America six months later when terrorists flew four aeroplanes into three locations including the Twin Towers. Here, the reverse was true. Heritage – mammon is indeed ‘heritage’ – remained but 3000 people were murdered. A decade later, One World Trade Center arises. Originally called ‘Freedom Tower’, its name was changed because ‘One World’ was ‘more marketable’. Its first tenant is a Chinese real estate agency with close ties to the Chinese government. The address becomes part of China’s Statement PR and an Accessory PR trophy. 22 Because of the collapse of Britain’s economic and moral authority, only ‘small’ PR – rather than ‘big’ Statement PR – is available: e.g. those wearing Arab headgear at the Cenotaph so that Arabs feel included favourably in the nation’s history. It seeks to create empathy. This is why, in the documentary Bin Laden Shoot to Kill shown on Channel 4, the Americans changed the name of the dog accompanying its forces to ‘Cairo’. The Daily Telegraph review, 7 September 2011, said its name was ‘Malibu’. 23 US versions include its First Lady Michele Obama wearing a red gown to a White House state dinner to welcome the President of China – red is a lucky colour for the Chinese. These days dresses not tiaras speak to empires. And, giving one of her keynote speeches on the Middle East, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton wearing a two-strand green necklace, an important colour in Islam. 24 Newsnight BBC 2, 22 February 2011 Development of SIS novelists The SIS has also had the good sense and patience to encourage youngish men to establish careers as novelists – like espionage, PR is a long game. The authors I have noticed with SIS connection now maintaining the brand by feeding the espionage fiction habit are Charles Cumming and Matthew Dunn, although there are doubtless others. In addition, in an informative, wide ranging and presumably authorised Sunday Times article, Matthew Dunn fed into some of the points made by SIS Chief Sir John Sawers in his landmark, first public speech given in October last year.25 Particularly pleasing, given my viewpoint, was Matthew Dunn’s description of the officer/agent relationship. Gone, in the space of a decade, are demeaning words such as ‘handler’ and ‘humint’ which depersonalised, polarised and caused deliberate insult. In its stead come the genuine warmth of human relations and the duty of care felt so keenly by good SIS case officers: ‘The bond between an officer and an agent is the closest there can be. It is intense and emotional. MI6 officers will often think of their agents as their family and will be as loyal to good agents as they are to Her Majesty’s Government.’ Yes, indeed – exemplified by the case officer I describe above with whom my father was so proud to serve our country. 25 I believe Matthew Dunn made one PR error in the article. He described a young man with awesome skills who died in appalling circumstances when on secondment to SIS as a ‘junior desk officer’. The word ‘junior’ is used to diminish, a typical SIS trick which should have been binned years ago. However, it is possible the word was used with the consent of the dead officer’s parents because it served a necessary purpose. If this is not the case, it was callous in the extreme. The word ‘young’ rather than ‘junior’ would have been more appropriate. Sunday Times, 11 September 2011 Dunn’s first novel is reviewed by occasional Lobster contributor Michael Carlson at Her Majesty’s secret servants Robin Ramsay SIS and Libya Henry Kissinger is widely quoted as having once said that ‘America has no friends, only interests’; and when push comes to shove this is true for all states. This island has been called something like ‘perfidious Albion’ for almost a thousand years.1 Neither proposition has ever been better illustrated than by this country’s foreign policy towards Libya in the past 20 years or so. Former MI5 officer David Shayler reported that in 1996 MI6 had paid £100,000 to a Libyan Islamist group for the assassination of Colonel Gadaffi; and, although denied by the British formal foreign policy apparatus, a great deal of evidence, including what are apparently internal FCO documents, supports the claim.2 Fast forward to 2003, and MI6 begins dealing with Libya, through ex – or ‘ex’; deniable, at any rate – MI6 officer Mark Allen. This culminated publicly in the rapprochement symbolised by Gadaffi and Prime Minister Blair embracing in 2004; and privately in the British security and intelligence services helping to send back anti-Gadaffi activists (one from the 1996 group paid by MI6) to their Libyan equivalents for torture.3 As part of the fallout from the end of the Gadaffi regime 1 See, for examples, . 2 This is discussed and the documents are reproduced at 3 See, for example, In an interview on the Today programme Tony Blair denied knowing anything about this. Which might be true, of course. See Patrick Sawer, ‘Tony Blair denies knowing about “rendition” of Libyans on his watch’, Daily Telegraph 10 September 2011. some of (now Sir) Mark Allen’s oleaginous correspondence with Libyan officials was made public. In response to this, Con Coughlin4 in the Telegraph and Ian Black in the Guardian5 immediately wrote hagiographic pieces about Allen. Coughlin’s piece would have surprised no-one who has followed his writing in the Telegraph: he has been an outlet for the MI6 media managers for many years – a role which dropped him and the Telegraph in the mire in 1995 when Coughlin put his name to a story given to him by MI6 smearing one of Gadaffi’s sons. This resulted in a libel case in which the MI6 role was revealed and which Coughlin’s employer, the Daily Telegraph, lost.6 I dare say an invoice winged its way from the Telegraph to MI6 for a sum equivalent to the fine imposed and the expenses incurred by the Telegraph dealing with the court case. Harebrained? ‘Page 8’ was a film written and directed by David Hare on BBC 2 on 28 August 2011, in which Bill Nighy played a suave, sophisticated senior MI5 officer who saves the Service from being being destroyed in a Whitehall shake-up by blackmailing the government with secret information about its role in the Iraq war. And there was a pretty girl who, as in the fantasies of many ageing men, falls in love with Nighy’s character. The character played by Bill Nighy was the essence of the image of itself that MI6 (SIS) has projected over the years: smart, ruthless and morally aware. But this Nighy character was an MI5 officer and, as a result the film felt odd to me. (Evidently I have absorbed that MI6 image of itself.) In a profile of him published just after the broadcast, Hare said: 4 See his ‘Should MI6 have come in from the cold?’ at . 5 ‘MI6 man who saved Gaddafi risks being mired in an intelligence minefield’ at 6 This is discussed at ‘It’s about how the security services were ruined by politicians. You had MI5 advising that there were no weapons of mass destruction. What did politicians do with this information? They told MI5 to go away and come back with the right information that justified invasion. My aim was to present the security services as not different from you and me. They’re regular folk.’7 But it wasn’t MI5 who were telling the government there were no weapons of mass destruction: that role fell to the Defence Intelligence staff, and they were ignored and eventually bypassed for their refusal to swallow the line coming from the Americans and MI6. And it wasn’t MI5 who were told to go and get the intelligence to justify the war. That was MI6. 8 Hare’s comments seem to explain why the film felt odd: he thought he was writing about MI6 but simply muddled the names of the agency and had Nighy as MI5. And nobody in the editorial process noticed. (To most viewers it would make no difference, of course.) Spy versus Spy We have had a lot of tribunals recently. One that has received little attention in the UK is the Smithwick Tribunal in the Republic of Ireland which is enquiring ‘into suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána or other employees of the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan on the 20th March, 1989.’9 7 8 What MI5 did do was warn the government that war in Iraq would increase the domestic threat, but not loudly (or publicly). On which see former intelligence analyst Crispin Black’s ‘Why did all these sceptical officials go along with the Iraq invasion?’ at . 9 Among those giving evidence has been Ian Hurst,10 a former member of the British Army’s Force Research Unit (FRU). Hurst’s affidavit is an insider’s guide to the work of the FRU and other elements in the state in Northern Ireland, and contains some interesting stories. Hurst talks about the difficulties involved when loyalist and republican paramilitary members became agents of the state. Operations get complex and thus more dangerous. To illustrate this Hurst gives this quote from (Lord) John Stevens who was in charge of three inquiries into collusion between the British Army, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and loyalist paramilitaries in the war with republicans.11 ‘There was the RUC, MI5 and the army doing different things. When you talk about intelligence, of the 210 people we arrested, only three were not agents. Some of them were agents for all four of those particular organisations, fighting against each other, doing things and making a large sum of money, which was all against the public interest and creating mayhem in Northern Ireland.’ 12 That 98.5% of those arrested were on the British secret state payroll is the most surprising thing I have read for a very long time. These were on the Loyalist side of the conflict – allies, essentially, of the British state – and I think we may assume that on the Republican side a lower percentage of the combatants had been recruited by the British state. (I have seen no figures, not even plausible guesses, on this.) Even so, this level of state penetration implies operations of impossible complexity as the agencies juggle their assets within the groups, standing on each other’s toes every time they try to do something. At worst it implies a lethal, Clouseau-esque 10 Also known as Martin Ingram. See, for starters, . The reliability of Hurst/Ingram’s stories in unclear to me. Republican sources have tried to discredit Ingram, mainly because of what he has said about the British agent Steaknife. On which see, for example, . Evidently the Irish government thought him worth talking to. 11 See 12 farce. The crisis Robin Ramsay The political problem Sitting in the pub, a friend of mine said he couldn’t understand what was going on in the Labour Party at the moment. I said something to the effect that they had a problem: almost everything they believed about economic policy for the past 25 years was wrong; and imagine how difficult this makes things for the current leadership. They cannot say, ‘We’re terribly sorry: we’ve been wrong for the last 25 years. We plumped for the City and ignored the manufacturing base.’ Politicians don’t do this. Political parties not seeking election – e.g. the Communist Party of Great Britain – can say such things (and the CPGB did circa 1990). But for parties engaged in electoral politics this is impossible. Or is perceived as impossible. They are forced to change their policies while pretending all was well when they were in office. (Or almost well: they may acknowledge little things they did get wrong...) Not that this problem is unique to Labour. As the coalition government talks about ‘rebalancing the economy’, away from the City towards manufacturing, they have the same problem. They also chose to bank on the City. The British political class and its attendant media made a huge mistake in the 1980s when, with North Sea oil revenues to spend, they chose to copy America and not Germany or Sweden. The last glimpse of a mainstream political party not assuming that Britain’s future lay in ‘the service economy’ (in general) and the City (in particular) was in 1988 when the Labour Party was doing its policy review after the defeat of 1987. The economic part of that review was done by a committee chaired by Bryan Gould MP. Gould represented a current within the Labour Party and wider labour movement at the time which was hostile to the bankers. It had concluded that the key structural conflict in Britain wasn’t between the classes, the Marxist view, but between the interests of the domestic and overseas sections of the economy; which in shorthand boiled down to the City on the one hand and manufacturing on the other.1 This group included Neil Kinnock, as his 1986 book, Making Our Way, shows, and Bryan Gould, who was appointed by Kinnock to chair the committee on economic policy. Gould’s committee duly produced a detailed analysis of why the bankers had too much power and how to reduce it.2 But the Gould committee report was rejected by Neil Kinnock as soon as it was finished. Gould tells us that, just before the report was due to be published, a group of Labour MPs came to see him to try to get it stopped or modified. One of them was the then rising star of the back-benches, Tony Blair. This was 1988. Gould went on to stand against John Smith for the leadership of the party in 1992 and lost heavily. New Labour – at its core the capitulation to the financial sector – could be said to have begun there. We still don’t know why the Gould report was dumped. My guess would be that the group around Kinnock wanted to get elected more than they cared about the state of the British economy or the fate of its citizens; and having lost two general elections, decided that the bankers were too powerful to challenge. By this time – 1988/9 – the City had been largely sold off to American banks in the so-called big bang of 1986 and was well on its way to being an extension of Wall Street; and thus to be anti-City of London increasingly meant being perceived as anti-American. But for a while a Labour Party 1 I was ‘captured’ by this viewpoint in Frank Longstreth’s, ‘The City, industry and the state’ in State and Economy in Contemporary Capitalism, Colin Crouch (ed.) (London: Croom Helm, 1979). This anti-City tendency reached its high water mark with the Labour Party report of 1982, The City: A Socialist Report. Among those who were on the study group which produced it, ‘co-opted members’, were MPs the late John Smith, the late Robin Cook and Jack Straw. Smith was doing this – if he was doing anything other than having his name used – while a member of the steering group of Bilderberg. 2 I don’t have a copy of the report and it is not on the Net. As far as I can tell it was never made public. My account comes from reports of it, such as that in Bryan Gould’s memoir Goodbye to all that (London 1995). which was explicitly an anti-City of London party did seem a real prospect. For whatever reason, the policy review document on the economy was abandoned and Labour began the long process of making itself acceptable to the City of London – even though the City then was only about 2% of the British economy.3 Pennies dropping It is slowly dawning on the political class that the last 30 years, the whole services/knowledge economy thing has been a detour, funded by oil and then debt.4 With this come some interesting shifts. Here’s Charles Moore, former editor of The Spectator, the Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph. ‘It has taken me more than 30 years as a journalist to ask myself this question, but this week I find that I must: is the Left right after all? You see, one of the great arguments of the Left is that what the Right calls “the free market” is actually a set-up. The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.’ And so on for a couple of thousand words. But he’s simply 3 That’s a guess on my part. It’s now 6-7% of GDP and I’m guessing that it has tripled in size since the late 1980s. Travelling through the City these days all the new build has occurred since then. Accurate figures – better guesses, perhaps – on this are hard to find. If anybody has data on this please send me it. 4 Not that Labour has entirely given up on it. ‘Labour will this week sign up Andrew Lloyd Webber’s multimillionaire former accountant to help the party develop tax policy to stimulate growth in media, music, fashion and other creative industries, in an effort to make the country less reliant on the City for economic success.’ incapable of following the thought through and finishes with this: ‘One must always pray that conservatism will be saved, as has so often been the case in the past, by the stupidity of the Left. The Left’s blind faith in the state makes its remedies worse than useless. But the first step is to realise how much ground we have lost, and that there may not be much time left to make it up.’ (emphasis added) With ‘The Left’s blind faith in the state makes its remedies worse than useless’, Moore’s attempt at rationality collapses and his bedrock beliefs reassert themselves. For his entire analysis is of a crisis caused by the withdrawal of the state from the economic life of the country. All the successful economies which he might wish to emulate have a very significant economic role for the state. Giving up on the state has been the right’s central error. There are even voices within the City starting to ask if the ‘Big Bang’ of 1986, selling off most of the City to American banks, was a good idea: ‘Viewed from the perspective of the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s.....Terry Smith, the Tullet Prebon chief executive, now reckons Big Bang was a “colossal mistake”. Peter Meinertzhagen, the former chairman of Hoare Govett, says: “It’s absolutely not something to celebrate. Everything that went wrong in the City went wrong because of Big Bang – greed, nobody knowing their counterparties, and good firms getting taken over and wrecked.”’5 Paralysis British politics is paralysed by the fact that the obvious move to make against the globalisation catastrophe is to return to 5 Alistair Osborne, ‘ The Big Bang, says JP Morgan Cazenove chairman David Mayhew, “transformed the opportunity for London,”' 26 October 2011, the nation-state and get a bloody grip on things; but few believe this is possible or desirable. The nation bit of the nation-state term is no-go territory for the left and the state bit is no-go territory for the right. At the heart of the ‘we can do nothing’ case is the belief that given any strengthening of the state’s role in the economy – if it actually did try to regulate the financial sector, for example – the City would decamp for somewhere with fewer regulations. Some would; but we don’t know how many. This belief usually stands on an exaggerated sense of how significant the financial sector actually is, as I have discussed repeatedly in previous issues.6 It is actually now about 7% of the GDP.7 Which is significant; but a chunk of that is British retail banking, which is going nowhere; and not everyone else would go. We don’t know what the effect would be of regulating the global gamblers. The exaggerated notion of the UK’s dependence on ‘financialisation’ has spread as far as the German Chancellor. The Guardian (16 November) quoted Angela Merkel as saying that the UK generates ‘almost 30% of their gross domestic product from financial-market business in the City of London.’ By ‘financial-market business’ I presume she means the financial services sector, which is actually about 7% of GDP. But no wonder Merkel would find a 30% figure plausible. Only a big figure explains the British state’s obsession with defending the City’s position. All the effort spent and enmity generated for 7% would make no sense. And that’s right: it makes no sense. 6 See for example p. 54. 7 Jeremy Warner, associate editor of the Telegraph, who spotted the Merkel comment, said ‘it’s more like 6%’ in ‘If the euro goes up in smoke over the next year, then one thing is certain; it’ll be the City that is held responsible’, Daily Telegraph 17 November 2011. The View from the Bridge Robin Ramsay One of the Blair legacies I have written in these columns before about the consequences of the American and British use of depleted uranium in their munitions, for example by the Americans in their assault on Falluja, in Iraq A report on this, with pictures of babies with gross deformities born in the Falluja hospital, is to be found in Professor Paola Manduca’s ‘The biological legacy of warfare’ at . The pictures are disgusting. Quigley The American conspiracy theorists of the 1970s promoted Carroll Quigley’s then very hard to find Tragedy and Hope as a seminal work on the powers-that-be. In the first issue of this journal in 1983 I tried to assess his claims.1 To my knowledge there is still no academic work on this subject, possibly because – as with Bilderberg – the interest of the conspiracy theorists in America has contaminated the material. Nonetheless the (non-academic) interest in Quigley remains and at there is a collection of letters from him, photographs, articles about him, some of his lectures, reviews, discussions of his theses by others and his comments on them; at are reproductions of some of his letters about the fate of Tragedy and Hope; and a 1974 audio interview with him is available on YouTube. 1 A version of this is on-line at Traces of the Anglo-American network which Quigley described in his books, keep turning up. Former Guardian journalist, Richard Gott, had a piece in the New Statesman bemoaning the state of the current Guardian.2 In that he referred to the paper’s pro-American stance and noted of its 1956-75 editor, Alastair Hetherington: ‘his favourite political tract was Union Now, a now forgotten bestseller from the 1930s by Clarence Streit, which advocated federal union between the US and Britain.’ Such a federal union was the vision of Cecil Rhodes, in pursuit of which he funded the Round Table network, which, in turn, set-up the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in the US and Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) and Chatham House in the UK. (These institutional links were the original core of ‘the special relationship’.) Streit was an American member of that network. His Union Now was reprinted during WW2 (paper rationing and all) as Union Now With Britain.3 That the merging the US and the UK into a federal union was being promoted in 1941 by anyone is astounding. The second coming of Christ was about as likely. Uncle Sam’s Grauniad? Richard Gott’s account (above) of the Guardian’s long-standing pro-American stance made me wonder, for the umpteenth time, if the Guardian had been part of the NCL (non-communist left) supported/penetrated/run by the CIA during the Cold War. In its attempt to regulate the entire Western media in those years, the CIA could take the conservative UK press for granted as good anti-communists; it was the left or leftish media it needed to concentrate on. And in the UK, America’s most important overseas military base, that meant the Guardian. The issue of the Guardian’s pro-American position (against that of most of its readers, I would guess) arises 2 3 God help me, I have both of them. again when you consider the Herman-Peterson-Monbiot affair. Rather than try and précis this complex event, I will merely quote one paragraph from Herman and Peterson’s long response to their treatment by Monbiot and the Guardian’s editors and urge you to read the whole thing. ‘Monbiot believes (as does the Guardian-Observer) that the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals have been trustworthy searchers for truth and unbiased dispensers of justice, and that the narratives of the conflicts each of them codifies are beyond reproach. The contrast between our view and theirs could not be more stark or clear. Whereas we believe that these are political institutions, operating with the mandate to deliver guilty verdicts to the Serb targets of the U.S.-led NATO bloc in the former Yugoslavia, guilty verdicts to the Hutu targets of the U.S., U.K., and RPF in Rwanda, and to dramatize all of this with faux-legal performances that stick to these two scripts, Monbiot et al. accept the tribunals' indictments, judgments, and guilt assignments on an ex cathedra basis.’ From ‘George Monbiot and the Guardian on “Genocide Denial” and “Revisionism”’ by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson at . Richard Webster RIP Richard Webster, author of The Secret of Bryn Estyn (reviewed in Lobster 52) and most recently Casa Pia: The making of a modern European witch hunt (reviewed in Lobster 61) has died.4 This is a real loss. Webster was that unusual combination of someone who was seriously bright, independent of all intellectual fashions, and fearless. His Website is . 4 Good riddance Still with the Guardian, Professor Paul Wilkinson, the terrorism propagandist, was the subject of an extraordinarily uncritical obituary in the Guardian on 18 August. The appropriate corrective can be found in a piece on him on Powerbase.5 This includes Wilkinson’s role in trying to disinform Channel Four News’ investigation of the allegations of Colin Wallace. Wilkinson passed to Channel Four an elaborate smear about Wallace, accusing him of being an accessory to murder, which Wilkinson claimed came from one of his department’s researchers on the Wallace affair. Of course his department had no researchers working on Wallace and the smear was something concocted years before in Northern Ireland for which Wilkinson was just the mesenger boy. (Being the conduit for the nonsense from military and intelligence agencies was one of his roles.) When this was demonstrated to Channel Four’s management, Wilkinson lost his gig as ITN’s ‘consultant’ on terrorism. None of this appeared in the Guardian obituary. If you copy America, you get America. A former Republican staffer in Congress, who has resigned after 30 years, had a very interesting piece on Truth-out. He wrote this about the Republicans: ‘It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.’ After describing some of the mind-bogglingly cynical manipulations by the Republicans in Congress, he included this paragraph about the Democrats: ‘What do the Democrats offer [ordinary Americans]? 5 Essentially nothing. Democratic Leadership Council-style “centrist” Democrats were among the biggest promoters of disastrous trade deals in the 1990s that outsourced jobs abroad: NAFTA, World Trade Organization, permanent most-favored-nation status for China. At the same time, the identity politics/lifestyle wing of the Democratic Party was seen as a too illegal immigrantfriendly by downscaled and outsourced whites.’6 Substitute New Labour for Democrats..... Guilty Men The pamphlet by Peter Oborne and Francis Weaver, Guilty Men7 is a terrific account of the creation and effects of groupthink among the British political and media groups about the unassailable virtue of the European Union project in general and the single currency in particular. Feeling vindicated by the current single currency crisis, the Euro-sceptic authors have disinterred and held up to ridicule – rightly, in my view – the speeches and statements of the pro-single currency sections of British opinion. The authors also show how those who opposed this pro-EU, pro-single currency group-think – particularly those in the Conservative Party, their chief focus – were marginalised or ridiculed. Rod Liddle used to be editor of the Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme; and thus, as ‘Today’ sets the daily political agendum for so much of the British media, for a time one of the more powerful people in British politics. Commenting on Guilty Men, he rebuts a position that Oborne and Weaver do not hold: namely that there was a conspiracy within the BBC, and offers an insider’s view that is exactly that of the authors: ‘Oborne seems to imply that there was a covert plot within the top echelons of the BBC in favour of the European project, and that’s not true either. It is rather 6 7 Downloadable at more the case that the civilised, decent middle class liberals who ran the corporation genuinely believed that the Eurorealists were a bunch of deranged xenophobes, one step up from the BNP, and therefore their arguments should be discounted. I realise that covert plot or otherwise the result was the same – a heavy pro-Euro bias, and so you might argue my quibble does not matter. But the BBC’s bias was arrived at through a sort of inherent wet liberalism, rather than an actual plot as such.’ The Baer essentials Promoting one of his books, former CIA officer Robert Baer was interviewed about the war on Iraq and was asked, ‘What kind of intelligence did you see on the ground that was being manipulated?’ He replied: ‘We knew that Saddam Hussein had already destroyed his weapons of mass destruction, and that he was pretending to keep them in order to deter Iran.’8 To my knowledge this is the first time any CIA officer, past or present, has said this. Hitherto the line has been ‘We didn’t know that the Iraqis had scrapped their WMDs.’ Innocents abroad? Belatedly I flipped through a copy of the memoir of the former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, Fair Game (Simon and Schuster, 2007). Plame Wilson had her CIA cover blown by the Bush regime because her diplomat husband hadn’t gone along with the ‘line’ on Iraq and WMDs. Two things struck me: the first is the absolute political innocence of even comparatively senior CIA officers like Plame Wilson – about the reality of US foreign policy she has no idea. The second was her comment that within the CIA most of the officers had their TVs tuned to 8 Murdoch’s Fox channel – self-programming, their equivalent of praying five times a day to Mecca. The good old days It is often worth reading the comments underneath stories on the Net. For example there is this wonderful snippet about the final days of Enron:9 ‘I actually worked for a firm that audited Enron while they were going under...... the big scandal at the time was Enron’s accounting firm, “Arthur Anderson”, which actually brought in an enormous industrial shredder, and in Enron’s dying days, A-A was shredding entire filing cabinets....metal box and all.....destroying ALL records of their role in hiding Enron’s true fiscal malfeasance. Deleting computer records is nothing to companies that will OPENLY destroy as much damning evidence as they can before someone tells them to stop. Archives and Backups? Toss the entire computer in the shredder!’ Bought and paid for I saw this in a review by Michael Emmett Brady of Ron Suskind’s Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President on Amazon.10 I have repunctuated it a little. ‘This book attempts to explain away the close and long standing connections that have existed between Obama and Wall Street. It presents a very incomplete picture of the long and close connections that have existed between Obama and Wall Street that predate the 2008 election. 9 10 The interesting thing is that the Wall Street-Obama connection has been available for anyone to discover who is a regular reader of mainstream newspapers and magazines. Obama’s voting record in the Senate in the 2004-2008 period demonstrates time after time a voting pattern supporting Big Oil, the insurance industry, the HMO’s [health maintenance organisations] etc. The connection between Obama and British Petroleum had been established by his Senate voting record. The same holds for his long association with Goldman Sachs and his reliance on many libertarian academics associated/ connected with the University of Chicago’s economics department and Booth School of Business. The author attempts to submerge the long lived Obama-Goldman Sachs connection. In general, the voting public has been ignorant of who they have been voting for. Consider the following information that was available in late 2007-early 2008: for example, one could simply read the July 9 2007 issue of Fortune magazine to discover who the major backers of John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama were. One could also have read Business Week (25 February 2008) or the Los Angeles Times of 21 March 2008. Through February 2008 the major donors to the McCain campaign were 1) Merrill Lynch, 2) Citigroup, 3) Goldman Sachs, 4) J P Morgan Chase and 5) Credit Suisse. The major donors to the Hillary Clinton campaign were 1) Goldman Sachs, 2) Morgan Stanley, 3) Citigroup, 4) Lehman Brothers and 5) J P Morgan Chase. Guess who were the major donors to the Obama campaign ? If you guessed 1) Goldman Sachs, 2) UBS Ag, 3) J P Morgan Chase, 4) Lehman Brothers and 5) Citigroup, then you are correct. Obama’s reliance on Martin Feldstein, Alan Goolsbe, Summers, Geithner, Bernanke etc. is explained by the above connections.’ SCADs I spoke at a conference in London about SCADs – state crimes against democracy. The concept was first used in 2006, but got noticed when the February 2010 issue of American Behavioural Scientist was devoted to essays about SCADs.11 The SCAD concept is the latest attempt by American academics to find a way to write about covert politics when attempts to do so are routinely dismissed as conspiracy theorising and thus unworthy of the interest of the academic world or the major media. My guess is that the SCAD concept will suffer the same fate as its predecessors, parapolitics and deep politics. Both were coined by Peter Dale Scott, parapolitics in 1970s and deep politics in the 80s; and neither have been taken up by orthodox political science. The commercial and political forces which inhibit the major media from dealing with state crimes will not be swept away by a concept; and academics will continue to see large subject areas as intellectually contaminated by conspiracy theorists.. Blum-wise I noticed this choice little piece in issue 89 of William Blum’s Anti-Empire Report.12: ‘On February 17, 2003, a month before the US bombing of Iraq began, I posted to the Internet an essay entitled “What Do the Imperial Mafia Really Want”13 concerning the expected war. Included in this were the words of Michael Ledeen, former Reagan official, then at the 11 12 To add yourself to his mailing list, simply send an email to with “add” in the subject line. Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2; Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower; West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir; and Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire 13 American Enterprise Institute, which was one of the leading drum-beaters for attacking Iraq: “If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” After a year of the tragic farce that was the American intervention in Iraq I could not resist. I sent Mr. Ledeen an email reminding him of his words and saying simply: “I’d like to ask you what songs your children are singing these days.” I received no reply.’ Lest we forget Lest we forget that the Republicans stole the presidential election in 2004, there is a short sharp account, with some new (to me) evidence at . Life at the top If you haven’t seen it, do read a very striking piece by Kelvin McKenzie, erstwhile editor of the Sun, on Murdoch, the Tories and the media. McKenzie’s comments were provoked by ‘this bloody inquiry chaired by Lord Leveson’.14 Leveson’s inquiry into the British press has these terms of reference ‘To inquire into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press, including: a. contacts and the relationships between national newspapers and politicians, and the conduct of each; 14 b. contacts and the relationship between the press and the police, and the conduct of each; c. the extent to which the current policy and regulatory framework has failed including in relation to data protection; and d. the extent to which there was a failure to act on previous warnings about media misconduct.’ Who knows? Maybe some knuckles will get rapped. Of Leveson, McKenzie writes: ‘God help me that free speech comes down to the thought process of a judge who couldn’t win when prosecuting counsel against Ken Dodd for tax evasion and more recently robbing the Christmas Island veterans of a substantial pay-off for being told to simply turn away from nuclear test blasts in the Fifties. It’s that bad.’ Leveson was appointed by the prime minister of whom Mckenzie says: ‘After all, the only reason we are all here [with Judge Leveson] is due to one man’s action; Cameron’s obsessive arse kissing over the years of Rupert Murdoch. Tony Blair was pretty good, as was Brown. But Cameron was the Daddy..... Cameron wanted Rupert onside as he believed, quite wrongly in my view, that The Sun’s endorsement would help him to victory (when the paper did come out for Cameron the Sun’s sale fell by 40,000 copies that day). There was never a party, a breakfast, a lunch, a cuppa or a drink that Cameron & Co would not turn up to in force if The Great Man or his handmaiden Rebekah Brooks was there. There was always a queue to kiss their rings. It was gut wrenching.....15 An American with a disdain for Britain, running a 15 Details of meetings between party leaders and Murdoch’s people are at and declining industry in terms of sales, profitability and influence, was considered more important than a meeting with any captain of industry no matter how big their workforce or balance sheet....... Rupert told me an incredible story. He was in his New York office on the day that The Sun decided to endorse Cameron for the next election. That day was important to Brown as his speech to the party faithful at the Labour Party conference would have been heavily reported in the papers. Of course the endorsement blew Brown's speech off the front page. That night a furious Brown called Murdoch and in Rupert’s words: ‘Roared at me for 20 minutes.’ At the end Brown said: ‘You are trying to destroy me and my party. I will destroy you and your company.’16 Ah, Gordon, the penny dropped a decade too late. Craig Murray on Fox, Werrity, MOSSAD and the coming attack on Iran17 As often happens, Craig Murray whacked the nail on the head. ‘A mainstream media source has finally plucked up the courage to publish the widespread concern among MOD, Cabinet Office and FCO officials and military that the Werritty operation was linked to, and perhaps controlled by, Mossad – something which agitated officials have been desperately signalling for some days. “Officials expressed concern that Fox and Werritty might even have been in freelance 16 Brown denies he said anything like this and has complained to the Press Complaints Commission when something similar appeared in the Telegraph. See . 17 MOSSAD is an acronym and thus is capitalised. But I notice that as NATO is now almost always given as Nato (though not on the NATO website), so MOSSAD is now frequently Mossad. discussions with Israeli intelligence agencies” write Patrick Wintour and Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian. As I have been explaining, the real issue here is a British defence secretary who had a parallel advice structure designed expressly to serve the interests of another state and linked to that state’s security services. That is not just a sacking offence, it is treasonable.’18 In a later piece, with the answers to questions to the FCO by himself and Jeremy Corby MP, and some other input from diplomatic circles, he shows that the Werrity affair wasn’t, as some suspected, part of an Israeli operation, but was a piece of the Anglo-British–Israeli preparation for an attack on Iran. Murray doesn’t comment on the operational incompetence of using the Defence Secretary’s bagman, or the possibility that the exposure of the Werrity connection has been done by those within Whitehall opposed to the coming attack on Iran. Pinay and Crozier At the ISGP site19 are a number of documents pertaining to, and membership lists of, the clandestine organisation called Le Cercle – a sort Bilderberg meeting for hard core anticommunists. Originally it was called the Pinay Circle, after its founder Antoine Pinay, and David Teacher wrote about it in Lobster in the 1980s. At that site is a new edition of Teacher’s enormous study of Le Cercle, which is downloadable there. Of particular interest to me was a copy of Brian Crozier’s speech to the 1982 meeting of Le Cercle in which, amidst the standard (to me, comic) line of the enormous threat poised by the Soviet propaganda machine, led by the World Peace Council, was this: ‘In the United Kingdom, the counter-subversion arm of 18 19 < _Cercle.htm> the Foreign Office, the Information Research Department (IRD) was destroyed in a complex operation in which the CIA traitor, Philip Agee, played a leading part.’ Notice the misdirection: that IRD was the arm of the Foreign Office. A little research shows that it had become almost autonomous, running its own anti-detente foreign policy with the likes of Crozier. That was the problem for the FO and why, given the chance, the FO shut it down. Curiously enough, no sign of said ‘complex operation’ has ever been made visible, not even in Crozier’s memoir Free Agent. Was Libya responsible for the killing of PC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984? In one of Tony Gosling’s many e-mails was a timely reminder of the 1996 Dispatches documentary for Channel 4 which seemed to show that the official version of the death of PC Yvonne Fletcher – murdered by a shot from the Libyan embassy – was false; that she was shot by a gunman in another building as part of the demonisation of Libya by American intelligence. That documentary is now on YouTube at Michael X On Adam Curtis’s site – – in a section headed ‘Dream on’ there is some fascinating material about the early days of the so-called New Left in Britain (essentially London). Included in this is the story of the late Michael X (Michael de Freitas) and how he conned the London left. I was in London during that time and was part of a very short production of a Leroi Jones playlet called The Black Criminal, which did one performance, at the Roundhouse, in a benefit gig for Michael X’s organisation. De Freitas was around during the day, surrounded by white admirers. So we did our thing and I hung around backstage to watch the rest of the acts (I suspect it was the only time that Chris MacGregor’s Bluenotes and Sammy Davis Jnr. shared a bill). One of those ‘acts’ was a visiting Black Muslim from America, who got on the mic and began running a load of rubbish about the Jews which, these days, would get him arrested. One brave soul, a white man, at the back of the primarily black audience, began heckling this ‘Brother Elijah’. He got about four sentences out before a posse of Michael X’s gang, ‘the black Eagles’, in their black suits and polo necks, grabbed him, beat him up and threw him out. I took that as my cue to leave and catch the tube home. My first experience of Islam? Anti-semitism and violence. Tittle Tattle Tom Easton Blowing the whistle on Dr Fox Anything written here about the departed Defence Secretary Liam Fox, his best man and unofficial adviser Adam Werritty, Britain’s ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould and the Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell is likely to be out of date very quickly. Readers needing a little background could start with Jonathan Cook at Counterpunch1 and Brian Brady in The Independent on Sunday.2 Both draw very heavily – and with varying degrees of attribution – on the work of Craig Murray, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is now the highest-level whistleblower to have emerged from the Foreign Office, if not the whole apparatus of British government, in very many years. Not only is Murray’s website3 carrying his own material, it is also drawing some knowledgeable comments — between the inevitable trolls – from those attracted to it. With the exception of The Independent on Sunday, the mainstream media have at this date shied away from the serious substance of Murray’s allegations: that a pro-Israeli, neo-con agenda is being run through senior politicians and apparently reaching into the upper reaches of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence. Even Private Eye seems strangely reluctant to enter these waters. They made brief use of Murray’s initial revelations, but not at the depth one could expect given its fine track record on other controversial subjects. This is not to be totally wondered at: when the Eye’s regular item on newly elected parliamentarians featured neophyte Labour MP 1 2 3 Luciana Berger, the ex-National Union of Students (NUS) officer who allegedly was romantically close to one of the Blair offspring as well as former New Labour MP Sion Simon, it failed to mention that her previous job had been as director of Labour Friends of Israel. To date few MPs seem willing to run with Murray’s revelations, with Labour’s Paul Flynn and Jeremy Corbyn being two exceptions. Even when Liam Fox looked toast, his Labour shadow Jim Murphy seemed reluctant to speak out, leaving most of the work to his junior colleague, Kevan James. Murphy, Lobster readers may recall, is a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel.4 He cut his teeth in NUS politics and then New Labour with Simon, Stephen Twigg, James Purnell and Lorna Fitzsimons. Fitzsimons lost her seat in 2005 and became head of BICOM (the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre), the influential London-based Israel lobby. Funding BICOM is Poju Zabludowicz, the man who also contributed to a number of causes close to the hearts of Fox and Werritty. Philip Gould Close to the heart of New Labour was Lord Gould, whose death in November at the age of 61 was widely reported as a huge loss to the party. Andy Grice of The Independent, a Westminster reporter very close to New Labour people, was fairly typical of the rather OTT coverage – ‘A giant in life and death’ etc.5 The tragedy of an early demise should not, however, blind us to the important role Gould performed in the slow decline of the Labour Party. He held an influential position during the Labour defeats of 1987 and 1992 when his old friend Peter Mandelson was head of the party’s communications operation. The much-vaunted success of the ‘modernisers’ and their gee-whizz techniques in 1997 came on the back of the backbiting European divisions and corruption of the Major government. Subsequent Labour election victories 4 5 concealed a steady decline in Labour support, both in terms of activism and electoral turnout, leading to the present situation in which a very orthodox and conservative Labour seems incapable of landing a punch on a coalition submerged in political and economic crisis. Along the way Gould, apparently a rather undistinguished advertising man,6 became wealthy, highly influential and a member of the House of Lords. In the obit above we learn that the young Gould worked closely with the daughter of John Gilbert, ‘a patrician Labour defence minister who knew absolutely everybody in the defence establishment on both sides of the Atlantic’. Gould, married to head of Random House, Gail Rebuck, became influential when Labour was committed to unilateral nuclear disarmament and other radical policies. With the help of his focus groups, these quickly disappeared. Then leader Neil Kinnock and his wife, a veteran of Greenham Common, tore up their CND membership cards and embraced orthodoxies on defence, the City and much else, all apparently underwritten by focus group findings. When Mandelson moved on from Labour HQ to become an MP, his short-lived successor, John Underwood, tried to obtain for the party executive the raw data on which Gould and colleague Deborah Mattinson (Lobsters passim) based their strategic recommendations. He failed in the attempt and was quickly succeeded by a more amenable head of communications. The Hills are alive That was David Hill, a onetime bagman for Roy Hattersley, who now works for the giant Bell Pottinger PR operation so successfully stung by The Independent under its new editor Chris Blackhurst.7 Alongside Hill for several years in the company founded 6 7 by Tim (Lord) Bell, the man who helped make Margaret Thatcher, was Mattinson, Gould’s old sidekick in the ‘modernisation’ of Labour. Hill’s partner is Hilary Coffman, who previously worked for Kinnock and Michael Foot. BAP and the BEEB Hill’s sister, BBC chief editorial adviser Margaret, is a longstanding member of the British American Project (Lobsters passim) whose members now seem to fill more and more of the time of the corporation’s cash-strapped current affairs output. Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman was for many years poster boy on the BAP website (his photograph was recently removed); James Naughtie and Evan Davis now regularly host the BBC Radio 4 Today programme with frequent BAP guests including David Willetts, Bob Stewart, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander. A typical Today schedule is likely to contain three or four BAP members, none of whom disclose their membership to the listeners who have funded their extracurricular transatlantic bonding through licence fees or taxes going towards the Foreign Office subventions to the BAP. Guardianistas More transparent are the loyalties of Roger Alton to his latest boss, Rupert Murdoch. The 63-year-old executive editor of The Times was a key figure in so-called liberal journalism for most of his earlier career. A favourite of former Guardian editor Peter Preston, Alton achieved prominence on that title before becoming editor of The Observer. The paper that had courageously opposed Suez in 1956 became a champion for the invasion of Iraq under Alton’s editorship. From 2008 to 2010 he was editor of The Independent. Of late Alton has turned up on television defending News International with an enthusiasm that must make Guardian, Observer and Independent readers wonder what manner of man has been so influential over their news consumption for 30 years.8 On the other hand, a senior Guardian leader writer and 8 See for example and columnist for many years was Julian Glover. The partner of the ubiquitous Murdoch columnist and former Thatcherite Matthew Parris (he worked for her in No 10 before becoming an MP), Glover has left liberal journalism to work as speechwriter for the Prime Minister David Cameron. James Cameron and John Arlott, turn in your graves...... Bilderberg People: elite power and consensus in world affairs Ian N. Richardson, Andrew P. Kakabadse, Nada K. Kakabadse London: Routledge, 2011; 218 pages, notes, index; p/b, £20.99 Twenty-two years after Denis Healey wrote about Bilderberg in his memoir The Time of My Life, the English-speaking academic world has finally produced something on the group. And with three authors, it does look a bit like safety in numbers. This paperback version comes covered in praise received by the hardback edition. Ten years ago I doubt the book would have been published by any mainstream academic publisher; five years ago it would not have been so extravagantly overpraised. This isn’t a history of the organisation or even – directly, anyway – an attempt to evaluate its significance, although indirectly this is unavoidable. Using quotes from thirteen anonymous interviewees (and a few who have made on-therecord comments) the authors try to show what happens at Bilderberg meetings. Their account is similar to what we have learned from Healey, Paddy Ashdown and Will Hutton: politicians whom the multinational business community are likely to meet are given the once over; occasionally experts are brought in to elucidate particular subjects; and – mostly – the business community reaffirms its central beliefs; group think (we are clever, we are right) is reinforced. The authors note that people likely to disturb the group think are not invited. As I read it I noted only the following sections: ‘This is not a book about conspiracies. It is a book about efforts to organize the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century.’ (p. 1) ‘But the absence of a global regulatory framework, and the inability of global leaders to agree on anything resembling one during this period, has meant that individual governments have once again been left with the prospect of regulating transnational corporations at their own economic expense – something they have consistently demonstrated is beyond them’. (p. 3) ‘This book suggests that elite networks, and the consensuses that are formed and disseminated by then, are a critical mechanism for resisting or facilitating change in world politics.’ (p. 7) ‘Recognizing the personal dimensions of elite membership enables us to move beyond a crude and inappropriate reading of power with such communities and, instead, allows us to understand better how bias is perpetrated and disseminated within, and beyond, the transnational elite network.’ (p. 13) I also noted a retelling of the story, originally recounted by Jon Ronson in the Guardian in 1999, of how Mrs Thatcher was invited to the 1975 meeting and wowed a number of Americans who were there, which led to her being taken seriously and promoted in the US. That her simple-minded views made a good impression on the gathering may tell us a lot about those present; but she had already been spotted by the US embassy in London and had been given an extensive American tour in 1967 at US expense.1 If the book’s contents are unexceptional, the interesting question is: why has it taken the academic world so long to get here? Two reasons come immediately to mind. The most obvious is that the interest taken by conspiracy theorists (mostly on the American right) in Bilderberg contaminated the subject for academics chiefly concerned with careers and 1 Jon Ronson, ‘Who pulls the strings?’ . Giles Scott-Smith’s account of the Thatcher trip, ‘ “Her Rather Ambitious Washington Program”: Margaret Thatcher's International Visitor Program Visit to the United States in 1967’, in Contemporary British History, Volume 17, Issue 4, 2003, is now behind a paywall at the publisher Taylor and Francis; but some of the correspondence with the State Department about the trip is available at . professional status, and it has taken 20 years of dribs and drabs of information to persuade the academy to tiptoe into this territory. Second, I would guess that the economic crisis generated by the globalists’ consensus, created and reinforced by forums like Bilderberg, has undermined the sense that these people know what they are doing and deserve to be left in peace. I don’t mean to sound too churlish about this book. It may tell us nothing we didn’t know before – and little that wasn’t in Peter Thompson’s essay ‘Bilderberg and the West’ in Holly Sklar’s Trilateralism in 1980 – but it is nonetheless welcome; as, to judge by the reviews of the hardback, is a growing interest among the academic community in the role of these elite management groups in this catastrophic globalised world. A short article, stating the book’s central claims, by one of its co-authors, Ian Richardson, is at . Watergate Exposed How the President of the United States and the Watergate Burglars Were Set Up as told to Douglas Caddy, original attorney for the Watergate Seven Robert Merrit Walterville (OR): TrineDay, 2011, 240 pages, index; p/b, (US) $19.95 This is a very interesting bad book with a misleading title. It’s bad because little thought or work appears to have gone into its construction and there is much repetition. The title is doubly misleading: in the first place, little of it – less than 10% I would guess – deals with Watergate. Secondly, the suggestion that Nixon and ‘the plumbers’ were set-up is false. The author tells us that a Washington policeman was warned in advance of the Watergate burglary and let it happen, before arresting ‘the plumbers’. Even if, as is speculated here, that policeman was linked to the CIA in some way, this is not setting them up.1 The book is interesting chiefly as a firsthand account of a career agent/agent provocateur for the American local and national state – police, FBI, and God knows who else (half the time Merritt seemed to neither know nor care for whom he was really working). To my knowledge there has been nothing quite like this before, if the author is to be believed. Maybe Louis Tackwood’s claims2 come closest; but Merritt’s activities are on another planet, if he is to be believed. It’s a big ‘if’. Merrit was a serious druggie, with the moral capacity of a bar of soap, who made a living as a deceiver for almost 20 years. But if only half of it is true, this is an appalling tale from the lower depths of the American dream through which, run by a succession of state agents, Merritt trawled among the American left and Washington politics, seducing, entrapping, planting, disrupting, snitching and, on one occasion, trying to 1 These Watergate dimensions are discussed in a fascinating piece by Jim Hougan, ‘Robert Merritt and the Scandal That Dare Not Speak Its Name’, at Hougan’s website . 2 Citizens Research and Investigation Committee and Louis E.Tackwood, The Glasshouse Tapes (New York: Avon, 1973) poison anti-war protesters. Phrases like ‘the American Gestapo’ were used in the 1970s on the American left to describe the activities of the state against them. Merritt’s confessions here, if only half true, make those claims seem a little less ridiculous. Readers who have been paying attention to the LBJdunnit version of the Kennedy assassination in the past few years in these columns will recognise the name of Merritt’s coauthor, Douglas Caddy. For it was Caddy who presented to the US Department of Justice the affidavit of Billy Sol Estes, which named LBJ and others as being the perpetrators of the Dallas killing. As a young lawyer in Washington at the time of Watergate, Caddy worked for the Mullen Company, a CIA front, and represented ‘the plumbers’ when they got busted.3 Caddy writes a foreword and an afterword trying to contextualise these rambling memories of Merritt’s. In some ways these are the best bits of the book. Not only has Caddy had a small speaking part in two of the seminal political dramas of post-war America, for many years he was a deeply closeted gay man in Republican circles in Washington. He should write a memoir. 3 A profile of Caddy is at John Simkins’ invaluable site. See . Betrayal in Dallas: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the Murder of President Kennedy Mark North New York: Skyhorse, 2011; 300 pages, notes, h/b, (US) $24.95 This book is 300 pages long but the text is 159 pages; the rest is mostly reproductions of documents (as if the author thinks the reader would not believe his account of them?); and although the book is massively documented, it has no index, which is bizarre. North states at the beginning of his concluding chapter: ‘And now we know the truth. President Kennedy and Lee Oswald were murdered by Joe Civello’s Pearl Street Mafia and the Carlos Marcello mob with the help of the Paul Mondolini heroin cartel because of the Kennedy administration’s efforts to destroy those organizations’ illegal narcotics and gambling operations in the southwestern United States.’ Of course, he has demonstrated no such thing. What he has done is document in some detail (a) organised crime in Dallas and its links to local law enforcement and local politics; and (b) using new documents obtained by FOIA requests, the US Justice Department’s activities against organised crime in Texas. This is very interesting in itself and does again suggest that the Kennedys used the Justice Department to attack the financial base of their political opponents – in this case LBJ; though how significant organised crime funds were to LBJ’s political rise, or to the Johnson-supporting faction of the Texas Democrats, has not been documented. He does link Jack Ruby to the Dallas Civello gang, but there is nothing in this book linking the shooting of JFK to Civello/Marcello/Mondolini. North would have us conclude that this inference is inescapable. But it isn’t. Pursuing this thesis North has to ignore much of the extant evidence. For example, while in his first book, Act of Treason (New York 1991), there is much about the Oswald lookalike, all this disappears and Oswald becomes onedimensional again, a ‘leftist’ supporter of Castro. Even if we ignore the John Armstrong ‘two Oswalds’ thesis, this really won’t do. As a contribution to our understanding of organised crime and its relationship with the local justice system in the area, this is major. He shows that a large section of Dallas law enforcement knew about, socialised with, turned a blind eye fto, and sometimes bent the legal system for the mob in Dallas, one of whose members was Jack Ruby. When Ruby shot Oswald, the Dallas law enforcement system knew precisely who Ruby was, and how much damage an honest investigation of the man would do to them. What the author has not done is connect that crime/law enforcement/politics nexus to the shooting of Kennedy. He assumes that Ruby was killing Oswald on behalf of the Dallas mob, who (the author believes) had shot Kennedy. But this is only an assumption; and when Ruby did drop hints about the Kennedy killing while in prison, he pointed people not at Civello and the Dallas gambling-drugs network, but at LBJ. Too Stoned The Atlantic and its Enemies: a personal history of the Cold War Norman Stone London: Allen Lane, 2010, £30, h/b You remember Norman Stone: one of Mrs Thatcher’s favourite historians and occasional speechwriter for her. I had not read any of his books but I picked up a copy of this in my local library (it still has a few books among the computers and DVDs). What is a ‘personal history’ you ask? Well, it seems to mean one in which no documentation is required. That would be OK; but it also seems to mean one in which the author’s text is not edited. In his lengthy introduction Stone credits no editor and it shows. On page 54, discussing the early years of the Cold War, Stone describes the 1948 death of the Czech politician Jan Masaryk, who was found lying on the pavement beneath the small bathroom window of his flat. Murder? Suicide? Stone offers this explanation of the still unexplained death: ‘Perhaps the affair can be explained by drugs. LSD, which had been discovered in Switzerland at the end of the 1930s, can cause a sort of birth trauma: a foetus, struggling inside the womb, then making, head-first, for a small opening through which it has to fight its way....Masyryk...probably used the then fashionable drugs of high society and....this time overdid the dose.’ I don’t know that I have read a more ridiculous paragraph in a would-be serious book. He might as well speculate that Masaryk was killed in a failed abduction attempt by aliens – you know: they got him on their blue beam through the bathroom window but dropped him.... At this point I stopped reading the book and just began flipping through it. On page 64 Stone tells us that in Italy in 1948 the Communists lost the election. About that election, ‘There were (and are) cries of “foul”, because of covert activity by CIA men such as Michael Ledeen or Edward Luttwak, who knew the country well.’ If he isn’t claiming that Ledeen (born 1942) and Luttwak (born 1941) were involved in Italy in 1948, what is he claiming? Are Luttwak and Ledeen CIA? Nothing on the record tells us this. Does he know something we don’t? Continuing on the Italy theme I looked for ‘strategy of tension’ – nothing in the index. But there was a reference to Bologna. On page 336 he tells us that a bomb on a train at Bologna killed 12 people in 1974. But on the 1980 bombing of Bologna station by neo-fascists (probably, but not quite provably, run by the Italian agency SISMI) which killed 85 and wounded hundreds, there is nothing. He also writes on page 336 of the Red Brigades: ‘For Moscow, Italy was therefore a soft target.’ Meaning what? That the KGB were running the Red Brigades? Has anyone seriously tried to claim this? I looked for other ‘hot buttons’. On Allende: ‘Pinochet was said [sic] to have overthrown Chilean democracy....there were voluble exiles with tales of “disappearances”, of mass executions in football stadiums, of torture in dank basements or freezing, sub- Antarctic camps.’ (p. 438) Did any of these ‘voluble exiles’ claim ‘mass executions in football stadiums’? Not that I remember or can find. Has anyone seriously tried to dispute the disappearance of left and trade union people during Pinochet’s years? And, finally before giving up entirely, I checked his account of JFK’s assassination. This is his Oswald on page 207. ‘....failed volunteer for the military and the CIA and the KGB.’ Huh? Robin Ramsay A Thorn in Their Side The Hilda Murrell murder Robert Green with Kate Dewes New Zealand: Rata Books, 2011; 210 pp., index, photographs, p/b, 40 NZ dollars Once upon a time I used to know something about the Hilda Murrell case. At any rate, a piece about it without an author, therefore by me, is in Lobster 27. Seventeen years on from that piece, as I began reading Robert Green’s account of the death of his aunt (who was a kind of surrogate mother, his biological mother dying when he was 19), I would summarise my knowledge thus: she was murdered; it might have been about her opposition to nuclear power; or, more likely, the connection to the author, who had been a naval officer with some connection to the sinking of the Argentine ship the General Belgrano; recently someone who was 16 years old at the time was convicted of the murder, basically on DNA evidence. Which is to say I had remembered so little that I was almost new to the story. First, Green describes Hilda Murrell in some detail and takes us through his experience of the event and its immediate aftermath: the police investigation and the autopsy. He tell us that, on hearing of her death, he immediately suspected she had been ‘rubbed out’, as he puts it. This is very striking indeed. Not a politico, two years after leaving the Navy – and senior, too, a Commander – his response to hearing of the murder of his aunt isn’t, ‘Oh dear, I always knew living alone in rural isolation might go bad for her. I’ll bet it’s some burglary gone wrong’, but ‘They’ve killed her’. But who is ‘they’? Initially he assumed it was because of her opposition to the proposed nuclear expansion at Sizewell in Suffolk. This never struck me as likely. Woman writes paper opposing nuclear power station for public inquiry? We’d better go and burgle her house to find the paper. Don’t think so. This is taking public inquiries far too seriously. No amount of absolutely killer objections to civil nuclear power (and there are many) was going to stop it, as long as this country was committed to being a military nuclear power. ‘Consultation’ is not democracy; public inquiries are not Socratic dialogues; for the most part they are the necessary pantomimes to rubberstamp decisions taken in Whitehall. On the other hand, this was 1984: the Thatcher regime was still being challenged by the left; the Labour Party had not then embraced the ‘Washington consensus’; the American banks had not completed their take-over of British economic thinking; the Cold War had been revived for the benefit of the American arms companies and opposition to American power and nuclear power was significant. The British secret state was more or less given its head by Mrs Thatcher, who believed – genuinely, as far as I can determine – that Britain really was facing a vast, Soviet-funded communist conspiracy, ‘the enemy within’. And so when Green heard that Murrell was missing it wasn’t so irrational that he should ring the Shropshire police and inform them that she had been writing a paper opposing Sizewell and that she ‘may have made enemies’. The other explanation for her death, that it was her connection to her nephew, was first mooted by the late Judith Cook in an article in the New Statesman in November 1984 and amplified by Tam Dalyell MP. Pursuing the Belgrano issue, and prompted by leaks from Clive Ponting at the MoD, Dalyell was misinformed by one of his sources (unidentified) about Green’s actual role during the Falklands War and suggested in the Commons that Murrell had been killed because of her nephew. 1984 was a long time ago and we knew little about the British secret state then. Now we know enough to imagine how it would have reacted to the possibility that a former Commander in the RN with all kinds of secret knowledge about the war against Argentina, was talking to his anti-nuclear, peacenik aunt: full bore investigation; surveillance, phonetaps, mail intercepts, burglaries, harassment. Whatever it takes. And this would have begun before Murrell’s death. Green notes on p. 48: ‘I would have come under suspicion soon after Dalyell began his campaign in late 1982 when I was on leave before ending my Naval career. I was one of only two officers in Northwood with access to top secret intelligence signals relating to the Belgrano sinking who had taken redundancy.’ The other officer was also burgled, his house ransacked and nothing taken. Even Francis Pym MP, a disaffected former member of the Thatcher cabinet, complained that his Commons office had been searched in the hunt for the leak to Tam Dalyell within the MoD. Whatever it takes. As the Shropshire police inquiry failed to come up with a suspect, Green became the focal point of an unofficial inquiry as members of Murrell’s network began reporting events indicating that they – and she – had been under some kind of surveillance/harassment; and the media began taking an interest in this unsolved murder with political overtones. Books and articles appeared and Green carried on accumulating evidence, some of which we knew about already and some we didn’t. Every so often the media and Green tried to interest the police in what they have found. And got blanked. Telling the police that the spooks might be involved doesn’t help. Either they suspect this themselves and know they can’t go there, or they think the idea ridiculous and carry on with their normal procedures. Eventually, we are told, they interviewed 13,000 people. Murrell’s death was in the ‘unsolved’ file until DNA matches started to be used by police forces. DNA traces on Murrell’s clothes led to a local man, Andrew George, who was 16 and in local authority care at the time; and he was eventually convicted in 2005 after a kind of confession. Case closed for the police with a big ‘told you it was a local burglar’ to their critics. But by this time Green had too much other evidence to believe this and discovered what seemed to him to be flaws in the DNA evidence. Green’s investigations eventually enabled him to document a large (and distinctly unsubtle) surveillance operation around Murrell’s house in the days before her death, and he concluded that Andrew George and his brother wandered into the middle of this – they said they walked into the house because the door was open – and were essentially framed by the perps, who abducted Murrell and took her away to be interrogated. Who the perps were is still not clear but the affidavit of Trina Guthrie,1 to which Green refers, looks plausible. But those perps, named by Green, are dead, mad or in prison; and maybe there has been a big cleaning-up operation by persons unknown and the state is now coveringup the cover-up. Nothing short of a major reinvestigation by the state itself is going to get to the bottom of this; and no such reinvestigation is going to happen. Green and his partner are living in New Zealand where the burglaries and surveillance continue. And no wonder! Now he is a disaffected former senior naval officer who knows Godknows- what and might talk. Green gives a little hint at the end of the book, noting on p. 196 in his long list of outstanding items in the case: ‘From my experience as a Naval Intelligence officer with a top security clearance, MI5 would have discovered I knew there were things to hide over the Falklands War which were potentially more serious than the torpedoing of the General Belgrano.’ This is very good. The writing is clear, the story compelling. Green doesn’t try to take the reader beyond the evidence he has and there are is a lot of (to me) new information. This is also an ugly picture of the unregulated power of the secret state in Britain at that time and how that felt when we and not the jihadis were ‘the enemy within’. Robin Ramsay At time of writing no British publisher had been found and the book should be ordered, using paypal, at . It will cost around £20. 1 On-line at Area 51 An uncensored history of America’s top secret military base Annie Jacobsen London: Orion: 2011, £20, h/b Built round interviews with participants, journalist Jacobson has written an account – not quite a history, really – of the U- 2 and Blackbird surveillance planes, and their significant role in the Cold War. There are lots of interesting snippets in here, she writes well and this is worth the time of anyone interested in the period. Presented as that, however, the book would have received little attention; hence the use of Area 51 with its overtones of deep mystery. Fair enough: the planes were developed at Area 51. But Jacobsen has bookended her account with sensational material about the Roswell event: did a flying saucer with or without aliens crash in New Mexico in 1947? Jacobson interviewed an early alumnus of Area 51 who told her that, yes, there was a saucer; and yes, it did contain bodies of little humanoids with big heads; and, yes, two of them survived the crash. But, no, it wasn’t from outer space: it came from the Soviet Union. How did they know that? One of the disc’s parts had Cyrillic letters on it. It was a cold war stunt by Uncle Joe Stalin to try and panic the Americans`a la War of the Worlds in 1938. The notorious Nazi medical experimenter, Mengele, we are told, carried on his experiments for Uncle Joe and in less than two years had developed a crew of little people with enormous heads who travelled in an experimental disc-shaped craft – perhaps designed by the Horten brothers who built the ‘flying wing’1 – which could also hover, flown remotely from Alaska to New Mexico. The presence of such material in this book is like an article from the National Enquirer being printed in the New York Times. It looks like an obvious piece of book marketing – and it worked: the story of the commie aliens was reported all over the world. If it was just publicity-generation, Jacobsen has not admitted so. In interviews she has been trying to defend the 1 See, for example, material and does not seem to grasp that all she can say is ‘Well, he told me this’, or that a little thought about its plausibility might have been in order. Paul Lashmar’s Spy Flights of the Cold War (1996), still available on Amazon, is the place to start on the book’s main subject. Robin Ramsay Notting Hill in Ye Olden Tyme Murder in Notting Hill Mark Olden Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2011, 196pps, illus., notes and sources, p/b, £11.99. The murder of the black carpenter Kelso Cochrane on the streets of Notting Hill by a white gang in 1959 has never gone away. Never gone away because it was without doubt a racist murder but, further, because nobody was ever arrested and charged, let alone convicted (so much for the vast resources of the Met Police!). So, miasma-like, it has just hung there until now. With diligent research over many years Olden has tracked down and interviewed the Notting Hill faces of 1959 and names the former merchant seaman who fatally stabbed Cochrane. To use that current buzz word, this is closure of a kind, but not full closure as it still leaves the big question of why the Met didn’t solve the crime; and here Olden points to a cocktail of reasons, namely the racism and incompetence of the police, with a dash of political interference. Notting Hill is Olden’s territory and he knows it well. He deftly describes its rise and fall; and, unlike much local history, he puts a human face to it. We see it through the eyes of the people who lived and worked there, grew up there, notably those to whom it was home in 1959. Thus Murder in Notting Hill is not just about a murder, it’s also about a time and place. Anthony Frewin Back from the brink Alistair Darling London: Atlantic Books, 2011, £20, h/b Alistair Darling was a ‘safe pair of hands’ as a politician: he said almost nothing worth quoting in a period when being quotable was discouraged by the NuLab leadership trying to control the media’s presentation of the party and its policies. His memoir is what you would expect. There are one or two passages where he says things about the way Gordon Brown’s entourage bad-mouthed him (and others); but these have been run in the newspapers. There is an account of the events of the great crash of 2008/9 which gives us one or two snippets about the idiocy of bankers during the great crisis, but nothing significant. What is of interest are the glimpses into the mindset of NuLab politicians infatuated with the City of London. Darling was shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, then the actual Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and finally Chancellor. Yet he appears to have no economic views. At any rate none are given here. By omission he appears as a true neo-con believer: the state’s economic role was administration – and as little as possible, ‘light touch’. The market is magic; just don’t get in its way. In the financial meltdown of 2008/9 the British state ended up bailing-out several banks by nationalising them (profit was private but loss became public). Of the RBS nationalisation, the first time that a British government had acquired a bank, Darling writes: ‘When I went across to see Gordon in the flat that evening, I told him that nationalization [of RBS] was looking increasingly me [he] could see the political watershed we faced. It would hark back to the wilderness years, when Labour appeared unelectable.’ p. 65 Don’t you love the political perspective? Facing economic armageddon, Darling and Brown are worried that the electorate might be reminded of Old Labour. He says nationalising Lloyds/HBOS was ‘the last thing I wanted.... bringing with it all the problems that it entailed.’ (p. 174) There is no indication that he (or any of the Cabinet) ever thought: ‘We control some banks. Now we can do some things that matter.’ The central benefit of embracing the neo-con economic model was that the City was not the enemy it had been to the Labour Party of the mid 1980s; nor was it even the force that had to be appeased of the 1990s. The City became the most successful sector of the UK economy and, Darling tells us, while giving no figures, the government benefited greatly from the taxes it paid. But after 2008 those revenues reduced. ‘The problem was that it had been assumed that taxes coming from the financial sector would go on and on. After all, they had done so since the beginning of the decade. Far from being decried, huge bank profits and massive bonuses meant an increasingly large tax take. The problem was that the economy had become too dependent on one sector.’ (p. 100) Heaven forfend that a Labour government should ‘decry’ huge bank profits! In any case there was nothing NuLab could or should try to do about this, even if the ‘the economy had become too dependent’ on the financial sector. ‘Government can’t decree the extent to which our economy relies on the financial services industry as opposed to manufacturing.’ (p. 314) But government certainly can shape the economic environment of a country with its policies. Or does Darling think that Germany has acquired a successful manufacturing economy by accident? We return yet again to the question of how significant was the financial sector? He tells us twice (pp. 274 and 316) that it employs over a million people. But total employment in the UK had reached 30 million by 2008 (albeit not all full-time jobs). He tells us it ‘makes a huge contribution to our economic output’ (p. 316) but gives no figures. He does state that in 2008, just before the crash, a quarter of corporate taxes came from the financial services sector. (p. 100) To be certain he did mean ‘corporate taxes’ and not corporation tax, I e-mailed him and he replied thus: ‘The information comes from the answer to a parliamentary question earlier this year. Corporate taxes refers to all taxes and not just corporation tax. You should be able to get the details from the parliamentary website which contains answers to written parliamentary questions.’ After ten minutes of reformatting questions for the ‘Search’ box on that site and not finding the question, I gave up and turned to another source on this, the annual survey of tax paid by the financial services sector done by accountants PriceWaterhouseCooper for the City of London Corporation.1 This estimated: ‘...that for 2010 the financial sector as a whole made a Total Tax Contribution of £53.4 billion, which is 11.2% of total government tax receipts, from all taxes, for that year.’ This is down from 12.1% in 2009, according to the same source. Even if we assume that the figure is a reasonably accurate estimate (and it has been challenged2) about half of that is the domestic banking sector, so ‘the City’ as we think of it, the global hub, amounts to about 6% of total taxation; and the appropriate response to that figure would be is that all? The way that Darling, politicians in general and much of the media talk, we might conclude that the financial services were just about all this country had. Robin Ramsay 1 2 In ‘City State against national settlement: UK economic policy and politics after the financial crisis’, CRESC Working Paper Series, Working Paper No.101, 2011 at . The authors argue that the true figure is about half of this. The End of Progress: How modern economics has failed us Graeme Maxton London: John Wiley & Sons; 2011, £20.00, h/b September 1984 saw the then British Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, in Washington for a meeting of the International Monetary Fund. A safe distance from home, he made a speech that rather let the cat out of the bag in terms of Tory labourmarket policy. Many of the jobs of tomorrow, Lawson said, would not be ‘high tech’. They may not even be ‘low tech’. Instead, they would be ‘no tech’. To have some idea of the impact of this speech, you have to recall that a future of high tech jobs was the Government’s great alibi at a time of chronic unemployment, then standing at more than three million (I refer to the claimant count, currently about 1.6 million, not the broader measure that seems always to register Eighties-style levels of joblessness). Yes, we were told, the old was dying in terms of work, but the new was being born in the ‘sunrise industries’ of the future. Ministers were forever lauding modestly-sized businesses with names such as Com-Vac or Micro-Digital, and even a relatively minor expansion of a semi-conductor plant on a remote industrial estate would be presided over by a grinning politician babbling about the ‘silicon chip’ while reporters worked their way through white wine and vol-auvents. At the time, I was business correspondent on an evening paper, and chatted about the Lawson speech to a thoughtful man who helped run the local trades council. There was no way, he said, of bringing about a Third World, soukstyle economy in a country geared up for complex modern living. Well, no. Not then. But as the years grind by, and Britain becomes less competitive, could we not, bit by bit, see our standing decline, not only in relative terms, not even only in absolute terms but in terms of relegation from developed- world status to something closer to what was then known as the Third World? Graeme Maxton seems to think so, although it is not only Britain that he sees heading into the relegation zone but pretty much the whole developed world. Water, food and energy are about to become scarce. So is money. The flabby, over-indebted west is in no position to compete in the sharpelbowed climate of tomorrow. Britain, perhaps, is one of the least well-equipped in this department. Furthermore, Maxton warns, post-industrial Britain will not be some downshifters paradise, in which the breadwinner drops out of the rat race, moves the family to an old gamekeeper’s cottage and pulls fish from the local stream while their wife bakes wholesome cakes and their children eschew computer games and play instead in the woods. Instead, life will become more urban (as petrol cost rises make transport more expensive), diets will worsen (as people eat more cheap, filling food) and so will health (as the price of medicines rises). ‘Ration coupons will help ease the transition and make it fairer,’ he writes. ‘Black markets will spring up to profit from the shortages.’ Not so much the good life, more like the bad life. Intriguingly, Maxton is not coming at this from an especially left-wing or green perspective. Indeed, he used to work for The Economist, Citigroup and American Express, all of which suggests at least some sympathy with the notion of a market economy. So it is perhaps unsurprising that both his diagnosis and his suggested remedies have their roots firmly in the soil of the 18th century Enlightenment, of Adam Smith and all that. Maxton argues as follows: ‘During the last 30 years, we have taken many of Smith’s principles and trashed them. We have invented, instead, a new and distorted set of ideas with which to run our world; these are the source of many of our difficulties..…We have warped his ideas, as well as other enlightenment principles – including those of democracy, social responsibility and justice – to suit our own ends.’ He adds: ‘We were persuaded that there were no limits to growth. We thought we did not have to care about the consequences of our actions. We believed that the responsibility to borrow money within our limits, or the obligation to use the world’s resources considerately was for others. As we are about to learn, that was wrong.’ His solutions, as tends to be the case at the conclusion of this type of book, suffer from a certain prolixity, but are, in the main, well grounded: economies need to be ‘right-sized’ in line with shrinking resources, we need to price those resources correctly and profits need to be ‘fair’. There is the occasional eccentricity, or worse, as when he follows a proposal for universal birth control with the grossly illiberal suggestion to ‘ban the activities of many religious groups’ on the ground that ‘all they do is encourage even more people to believe in a dream that cannot come true’. That’s funny. I thought the standard critique of religion was that it made people too accepting of poverty and oppression in this world by holding out the promise of happiness in the after-life. That said, this is a book for our time. It will do well. Ironic, really, given the bleakness of much of its content. But then, nearly 40 years ago, a book entitled Small is Beautiful become one of the biggest sellers of its time. Funnily enough, had we heeded the warnings in that first book, we may never have needed this one. Dan Atkinson Dan Atkinson blogs at Lord Browne’s Body Beyond Business John Browne London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2010, £20, h/b British Higher Education is being completely reshaped in the light of the Browne Review. The intention is to remodel the system along American lines, using the huge increase in student fees to both drive forward marketisation and privatisation, and to reshape the culture of British HE with Humanities provision shrinking and Business and Management Studies expanding (nearly one in four US students studies Business or Management subjects).1 It is worth remembering that the Review was set up by New Labour with the personnel appointed to produce exactly that outcome. There was no student representation on the panel (something the LibDems actually condemned at the time – they were still after student votes) and, of course, no union representation. The review was headed by one of New Labour’s favourite businessmen, Baron Browne of Madingley (he was ennobled as one of New Labour’s ‘people’s peers’ in 2001). What is less well-known is that, along with two hand-picked Vice Chancellors, it also included two veterans of the US consultancy firm, McKinsey 1 For a good introduction to the state of US Higher Education see in particular, Frank Donoghue, The Last Professors:The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008). Donoghue chronicles the emergence of a three tier HE system in the USA with the creation of a bottom tier of community college and for-profit providers dragging conditions in the whole system down. Whereas in the 1990s there were hardly any for-profit universities, by the time he was writing, there were 2,383, relying overwhelmingly on casual academic labour, working in terrible conditions. A 2002 survey showed that a third of US faculty had no office space made available by their employers, along with no paid holidays, no pension scheme etc. Across the HE sector as a whole in the US only 35% of academic staff are tenured or on the tenure track and the percentage is falling. Interestingly, one of the few British for-profit Universities, the London College of Traditional Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (its degrees validated by the University of Portsmouth) actually went bust in November 2010, with students, including some who had taken out student loans, losing nearly £1 million in fees. The Coalition, which is committed to encouraging for-profit providers, refused to intervene. and Co.: Michael Barber, the head of McKinsey’s Global Education Practice, and Peter Sands, CEO of Britain’s little known fourth largest bank, Standard Chartered, one of the architects of New Labour’s bank bailout, and a McKinsey associate for 13 years. The review had a research budget of £120,000, which is a derisory amount considering the importance of their brief. Even more incredibly they only spent £68,000. This is pretty conclusive proof that the Review knew what it would recommend from the very beginning, that the whole exercise was a New Labour charade. New Labour relied very heavily on McKinsey for advice during its time in office. Indeed, according to Simon Jenkins, under Blair, ‘the day of consultancy government had arrived… Downing Street came under the influence of the McKinsey mafia’.2 As late as February 2009, the New Labour government (Gordon Brown was prime minister and Alan Johnson was minister of health) commissioned a report on the NHS from McKinsey that recommended a modest 137,000 job cuts, a report that was understandably suppressed with the 2010 General Election approaching. McKinsey have been described as ‘the Jesuits of Capitalism’. The company boasts of 95 offices in over 50 countries, employs over 16,000 people and in 2002 had a turnover of $6 billion. According to one study, if you look at some of the biggest companies in the US, the McKinsey influence is apparent. From finance to retail sales, manufacturing to transportation, and on into high technology, McKinsey business missionaries not only whisper and advise at the highest level, they have a propensity for moving from the consulting world into the executive suite. IBM, Sears, AT&T, American Express...… At American Express, one insider complained ‘that in his experience, McKinsey’s people were primarily interested in telling management exactly what it wanted to hear....McKinsey has, indeed, provided the cover an executive needed to carry out distasteful dismissals, restructurings, downsizings’.3 Most 2 Simon Jenkins, Thatcher & Sons, (London: Penguin, 2007), p. 277 3 James O’Shea and Charles Madigan, Dangerous Company, (London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1999), pp. 256, 261-262 infamously, they advised Enron for nearly two decades, but to the surprise of industry experts, ‘McKinsey managed to get out unscathed from the Enron debacle’.4 Jeffrey Skilling, the president of Enron, currently serving a 24 year jail sentence, is a former McKinsey partner. McKinsey advised Railtrack and the BBC on how to cut costs.5 After he left the BBC, Lord Birt (another Baron!) went to work for them. Another McKinsey man was Adair Turner (yet another Baron!), who, after heading the Confederation of British Industry from 1995 until 1999 (he was the third McKinsey associate in a row to head the organisation), went on to become a New Labour favourite. In 2002, he chaired an inquiry into pensions; in 2007 he became chairman of the Economic and Social Science Research Council; in 2008 chairman of the Committee on Climate Change (another member was Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University, also a member of the Browne Review6); and that same year chairman of the Financial Services Authority. Other McKinsey people in the Blair entourage included David Bennett, head of the Policy Directorate, Nick Lovegrove and Matthew Elson, both senior policy advisers. Lord Birt, having McKinsied the BBC and subsequently joined the consultancy, was installed by Blair as head of his Forward Strategy Unit. And, of course, the New Labour government threw money at McKinsey for consultancy contracts ‘from the NHS to the defence ministry’, the total amount a closely guarded secret. 7 McKinsey’s relationship with government has continued under Cameron: William Hague used to work for them and was welcomed by the Economist as ‘the McKinsey Foreign Secretary’.8 Another McKinsey man is Nat Wei, a Baron, of 4 David Craig, Rip-Off, (The Original Book Company, 2005), p. 93 5 For McKinsey at the BBC see Craig (see note 4) pp. 170-174, 6 Julia King was a member of the Ministerial Group on Manufacturing and of the National Security Forum; for four years she was chair of the Defence Science Advisory Council; she was for a number of years a member of the Technology Strategy Board; and in 2007 Gordon Brown appointed her to head a review into low carbon transport. 7 Jenkins, see note 2, p. 277 8 The Economist 8 July 2010 course, who is Cameron’s Big Society adviser.9 They are the apostles of cuts, redundancies, casualisation, marketisation, privatisation and the maximising of shareholder value. The Browne review has McKinsey written all over it. Indeed, it would have been better described as ‘the McKinsey report’. There can be no serious doubt that if New Labour had won the General Election, students would still have been confronted with an increase in fees, although perhaps not the obscene increase the Coalition has introduced. The attack on the Humanities would have certainly taken place; but, once again, perhaps not as ferociously as it has under the Coalition. And the LibDems would still be piously calling for the abolition of fees! It was, it is important to remember, New Labour that transferred HE from the Education to the Business Dept (this was what Sherlock Holmes used to call a clue) and it was Lord Mandelson who appointed his good friend Lord Browne to head up the review. It is clear that the intention was, from the very beginning, to transform British Higher Education, to Americanise it, make it more entrepreneurial, more business oriented. The increase in student fees was to be the instrument whereby this was to be accomplished. What of Lord Browne? He is a very modest man as can be seen from the subtitle of his autobiography, ‘An Inspirational Memoir From A Visionary Leader’. Here he portrays himself as a sort of amalgam of Indiana Jones, St Francis of Assisi and Henry Ford. ‘My life’s adventure’, he tells us, ‘would not only be touched by momentous events on the world stage but would also be shaped by political intrigue, and by rivalry between nations and companies to access and control the most valuable world resource at the end of the twentieth century: oil. But I would not be a passive observer. I would become one of the characters on the stage.....I too would touch and shape 9 Nat Wei famously suggested as part of the ‘Big Society’ initiative that ‘middle and senior staff in local invited to go to three or four days a week’ and in the days freed up by going part-time they could ‘be self-employed, run and franchise business, or get involved in their local community’ – Nat Wei, Blog, 7 February 2011. events.’ He became head of BP in 1995, after the Thatcher privatisation had ‘finally released the company from its governmental state of mind. It could become more commercial and competitive’. He went on to ‘transform BP into Britain’s leading business and a global giant. BP became the world’s second largest non-state oil company....BP became a force to be reckoned with’. And so, we are meant to conclude, did he. Now, he is giving us all the benefit of ‘the insights I gained as I transformed a company, challenged a sector, and prompted political and business leaders to change’. His adventures included ‘going toe-to-toe with tyrants, despots and elected leaders while bringing them around to my way of thinking’. (pp. 3-5) What a man! One can quite easily see why New Labour found him irresistible. Indeed, he was so close to New Labour that BP was known as ‘Blair Petroleum’ in the City. This closeness included making private jets available for the use of New Labour dignitaries and providing well-paid jobs for selected individuals: for example, for Anji Hunter, Blair’s closest aide, and for the former Labour leader John Smith’s widow, now Baroness Smith (she was installed on the BP Advisory Board for Scotland). As Tom Bower has pointed out, ‘neither woman knew much about oil or finance, but both enjoyed privileged access to Blair’s inner sanctum’.10 The late Philip Gould, a key New Labour figure and yet another Baron, ‘was hired by BP for its rebranding exercise’.11 And the traffic went both ways with BP executives joining government task-forces and the former BP chairman, David Simon, actually joining the government as Minister for European Trade and Competitiveness. He, too, inevitably became a Baron, courtesy of New Labour. As the US government prepared for the Iraq War, Browne publicly warned ‘the Blair government that British oil companies would lose out against their American 10 Tom Bower, The Squeeze: Oil, Money and Greed in the 21st Century, (London: HarperCollins, 2009), p. 267 11 Duncan Clarke, Empires of Oil, (London: Profile Books, 2007), p. 251 competitors if London did not participate in the war’.12 Browne transformed BP from a company in decline into one of the giants of the oil industry, something which earned him all the plaudits a businessman can accumulate. And, of course, he was well paid: in 2004 his total remuneration was £5.7 million. Much of his success was the result of take-overs accompanied by ruthless and relentless cost-cutting to drive up shareholder value. This earned him the affectionate nickname of the ‘Elf’ (evil little fucker) among BP employees.13 According to Tom Bower, Browne ‘presided over a corporate court filled with sycophants and where there was an unhealthy glorification of a boss who enjoyed unlimited expenses....with even his teddy bear being flown at the company’s expense from California to London.’14 Browne attempted to give BP a ‘greenwash’, to project it as ecologically friendly, as having concern for the environment in its genes. This earned BP the first Greenpeace Emerald Paintbrush award in 2008 for the best impersonation of an environmentally friendly company, an achievement all the more impressive considering the stiff competition from Shell and Porsche. The reality was somewhat different. Browne, as Bower once again points out, was addicted ‘to the wisdom handed down by McKinsey. Persuaded during his studies at Stanford in California that BP’s experts could be replaced by consultants, he appeared to become a financial executive surrounded by accountants focused on balance sheets to satisfy the shareholders rather than harnessing engineering skills to manage a project.’ 15 BP’s cost-cutting agenda was to result in disaster. In March 2005 an explosion at BP’s Texas City oil refinery 12 Lutz Kleveman, The New Great game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia, (London: Atlantic Books, 2003), p. 262. The Iraq War is not so much as mentioned in Browne’s memoirs! 13 Loren Steffy, Drowning In Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit, (London: McGraw Hill, 2011), p. 61 14 Tom Bower, ‘Return of Lord Oil-Slick’, Mail Online at 15 Tom Bower, see note 10, pp. 97-98 killed fifteen workers and injured another 170. In his memoirs (p. 205), Browne refers to the report of the Baker Panel that BP had itself set up to investigate the disaster, a report that he acknowledges ‘made painful reading’, but he does not even mention the report of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) that was even more damning. As Loren Steffy points out, the Baker report ‘came with a dose of public relations polish, a veneer of criticism that, while it may have appeared “savage”, was still largely acceptable to BP.’ The CSB report, unlike Baker, identified ‘the role that cost-cutting played in the Texas City tragedy. The CSB found that Browne’s mandate to cut 25 percent across the board in 1999 and again in 2004, coming after Amoco’s cuts earlier in the decade, had directly contributed to the accident and that the cuts were made even as BP’s own internal surveys were revealing increasing safety concerns at the refinery.’16 According to Bower, Browne never even read the CSB report. 17 The Texas City explosion led to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) levying ‘the largest fine in its history at the time – $21 million’. BP’s failure to implement the safety upgrades agreed led to yet another fine with the company topping the OSHA previous record with a fine of $50.6 million. Even these record fines ‘were tiny in comparison with the company’s profits’. And BP continued to cut corners on safety: between 2007 and early 2010, the OSHA cited BP for 862 safety violations in its US refineries, ‘nearly half all OSHA safety citations to the entire refining industry’ and, overwhelmingly, the most serious.18 This was followed in March 2006 by the Prudhoe Bay oil spillage in Alaska, a disaster caused by BP’s failure to prevent corrosion of its pipelines. Cutting maintenance, employing cheap subcontractors and covering up reports warning of possible danger led to 6,400 barrels of oil polluting two acres 16 Steffey, see note 13, p. 119 17 Bower, see note 10, p. 401 18 William Freudenburg and Robert Gramling, Blowout In The Gulf, (Cambridge, Mass: the MIT Press, 2011), p. 42 of pristine tundra.19 BP was fined £70 million. The Deepwater catastrophe in 2010, the worst oil spillage in US history, with eleven dead in the original explosion, even though it took place after his resignation from BP, is the culminating achievement of the regime that Browne established. After the Alaskan spillage, Browne was coming to be seen as a liability and the BP board decided that he should retire in 2008, when he reached sixty, with a retirement package of £32 million to help him cope. According to BP chairman, Peter Sutherland, Browne was so full of his own self-importance, that he ‘will only speak to presidents, prime ministers and kings’.20 Browne was trying to fight the threat of retirement when his ex-lover, Jeff Chevalier, a young male prostitute, approached the Mail on Sunday with the story of his luxury lifestyle courtesy of Lord Browne. Browne’s attempt to prevent the publication of the story forced his early resignation. Browne lied to a High Court Judge, Mr Justice Eady, claiming that he had met Chevalier while jogging, whereas, in fact, he had met him on a website, ‘’. He subsequently claimed that he had lied to keep his sexuality private; but, given the fact that he was seen quite openly with Chevalier, it is much more likely that it was to prevent revelations concerning his life-style, the private dinners he had with Tony Blair (on one occasion Blair and Browne chatted convivially while sharing a £3,000 bottle of claret), Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson, and aspects of BP business that he had revealed to Chevalier. Chevalier told the Mail that Browne was considering transferring BP’s headquarters to the USA for tax purposes and that, according to Browne, the company was only prepared to spend £10 million on safety measures to prevent the death of a worker. Mr Justice Eady condemned Browne for his ‘willingness to tell a deliberate lie in court, persisted in for about two weeks’, and, also, for his casual attempt to blacken the reputation of his ex-lover with unfounded accusations of blackmail, alcoholism and drug-taking. According to Browne, ‘I had not 19 For the Alaska disaster see Bower, see note 10, pp. 402-418. 20 Bower, see note 10, p. 273 committed perjury’; but Eady made it absolutely clear that in his view Browne had ‘committed a criminal contempt of court or, perhaps attempted to pervert the course of justice’.21 Astonishingly, Eady decided not to refer Browne to the Director of Public Prosecutions on the grounds that the damage to his reputation was punishment enough. This was a mistake. People like Browne buy reputation. Although he was forced to resign as CEO of BP, losing some £15 million in retirement benefits, he soon bounced back. His reputation was so damaged that his rich friends subsequently had him appointed chairman of the Tate and his New Labour friends (some of them overlapped with his rich friends) chose him, as we have seen, to Americanise British Higher Education. And he has never looked back. Today, Lord Browne is the head of a major private equity firm, Riverstone Holdings, and David Cameron has appointed him to a new post, Non-Executive Director at the Cabinet Office to lead the ConDem campaign to cut government spending. He has effortlessly substituted Cameron for Blair and the Tories for New Labour. The rich are like that! John Newsinger John Newsinger is Senior Lecturer in History in School of Humanities and Cultural Industries at Bath Spa University. 21 Browne, see note 10 p. 222; Steffy, see note 13, pp. 130-131 Shameless! T Dan Smith, ‘Voice of the North’, Downfall of a Visionary Chris Foote Wood Bishop Auckland: Northern Writers, 2010, £14.99, p/b You Can’t Say That – Memoirs Ken Livingstone London: Faber and Faber, 2011, £25, h/b T DAN This biography is woefully presented, has clearly not been proof-read and is littered with elementary spelling errors, appalling punctuation, random paragraphs of the narrative being repeated in full, and meaningless references to nonexistent footnotes. The author, Chris Foote Wood, owns the Northern Writers imprint (i.e. this is a self-published work) and has previously published a biography of his mother and a history of UK seaside piers. He is also a Liberal Democrat activist, served as a Councillor in Bishop Auckland for 40+ years and stood, without success, for election to either Westminster or the European Parliament on 12 occasions. A significant amount of the material contained in the book appears to be at variance with the Wikipedia entry on T Dan Smith. It is unclear whether the book or Wikipedia is to be relied on; or if, possibly, a composite narrative of Smith’s career could be assembled from them. This is a shame because Smith clearly had an interesting life. Red Dan He came from a strongly nonconformist and left of centre family, his father being active in the Independent Labour Party (ILP) in the early 1900s. By 1936 T Dan had joined him, moving rapidly to a significant position in the hierarchy of this small party. He was also a lecturer at the now forgotten Labour Colleges and heavily involved with the Peace Pledge Union, speaking frequently at mass meetings and rallies around the UK. In 1939 he declared himself a ‘war resister’, advocating many times in public the classic Trotskyist doctrine that the workers should ‘take no part in the bosses’ war’. A paid official and organiser of the ILP from 1940, he was monitored by MI5 but no action was taken against him. Perhaps this was because he was declared unfit for war service on medical grounds and thus never had to actually register as a conscientious objector.1 In 1944 Smith and a number of his friends and colleagues were expelled from the ILP for opposing cooperation with the Labour Party. They remained together and joined the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a very small Trotskyist faction whose most prominent members were Ted Grant and Gerry Healy. Like them, Smith regarded the Labour Party 1945 election victory as a disaster. Sometime around 1947/1948 he and his group left the RCP. Smith stated that he was expelled for ‘Centrist deviation’. His colleague Ken Skethaway, however, is quoted on pp. 43-44: ‘eventually the RCP was disbanded and we as individuals joined the Labour Party.’ The author – who as a Liberal Democrat may not be aware of the finer tunings of Trotskyist manoeuvres – notes that ‘most of’ Smith’s ILP group first met him in the Peace Pledge Union in the ‘30s, became ‘war resisters’ and then moved with him through the ILP and RCP and then into the Labour Party. What actually happened? In 1947 the RCP had extensive internal discussions about whether to remain outside the Labour Party or to became ‘entryists’ and join the organisation. Gerry Healy led the faction that favoured entryism and the subsequent move of Smith and his group into the Labour Party in Newcastle should be seen in this light. Certainly the comments made by Smith after he had joined the Labour Party – for example ‘with 6 people you can control a 1 In later years Smith was criticised by Gerry Healy as having ‘avoided’ the moral opportunity to declare himself a conscientious objector and, thus, to have lessened any inconvenience to himself. This may have been true. On the other hand Gerry Healy, as a citizen of Eire, was in the enviable position of being exempt from conscription. City, with 10 the country’ – read like classic entryist tactics. In 1950 Smith was elected to Newcastle City Council claiming in his electoral literature to have been a ‘life-long’ member of the Labour Party.2 Councillor Smith Throughout the book the author maintains that Smith wasn’t motivated by financial considerations and was not interested in personal enrichment. But....he then tells us that from 1947 Smith owned 7 different companies that carried out painting and decorating work for local authority clients across the north of England. One example of these contracts, with Newcastle City Council, was worth £17,000 per year in the mid ‘50s (approximately £800,000 today). Of course most of this would have gone to pay for staff, materials, overheads etc. But from this work Smith earned a very significant salary for the time, enough to buy him a Georgian town house, a Jaguar car (regularly upgraded), and many holidays abroad. He also paid for his children to go to private schools, maintaining, as have all those doing this before and since, that like any parent he only wanted the best for them.3 In 1958 Labour took control of Newcastle from the Conservatives and Smith, despite his contracts with the housing department, became Chair of the Housing Committee. By most people’s standards he should have been playing little or no role on the council. The author does not appear to understand this. Instead we learn that Smith proved very adept at declaring an interest and either being absent or out of the room when matters to do with his direct pecuniary interest were being discussed. The author also appears not to 2 The faction within the RCP that disagreed with Healy was headed by Ted Grant. Renaming themselves the Revolutionary Socialist League they too ‘entered’ the Labour Party in 1952 and became in the ‘70s and ‘80’s better known as the publishers of Militant. Healy’s group shuttled between entryism and separate status as the Socialist Labour League (from 1959) and the Workers Revolutionary Party (from 1973). 3 Smith was an atheist and objected to any religious trappings at state schools. He therefore sent his children to Bootham School in York, an establishment founded and run by the Quakers. understand why some elements in the Labour Party would have been hostile to Smith. I would have thought the reasons for this were obvious: most adults in the ‘50s and ‘60s had served in the war and many would have taken umbrage at a noisy, non-serving ‘war resister’ becoming prominent in local government in their town. Smith had not ‘done his bit’. The possibility of Smith being unpopular because of the mismatch between his rhetoric and private life, and his habit of ‘running’ decision-making in the local Labour Party via a small groups of his personal friends, is also not considered. In 1960 T Dan Smith became leader of Newcastle City Council. It quickly became clear that he had a far greater vision for the area than most of his contemporaries and was happy to act in a broad bipartisan fashion to achieve his objectives. It also became clear, beyond Tyneside, that he was considerably more gifted than many in local government. He favoured British involvement in what was then called the Common Market and in early 1962 hosted a visit to Newcastle by Willy Brandt. Clearly a powerful, clever and ambitious man, he was spotted by others. In February 1962 he met John Poulson, who ran at that time the largest architectural and design practice in Europe. Poulson was anxious to obtain personal introductions to prominent councillors across the UK. Smith agreed to work for Poulson for a payment of £2,300 per year (£77,000 in current prices) and would arrange meetings between Poulson and prospective clients from which business and contracts might flow. In addition, if Poulson and his favoured building contractors, Bovis (the family firm of Sir Keith Joseph MP, then Minister of Housing), obtained work, Smith would be awarded a 1.5% commission. A typical commission might be £30,000 (£1,000,000 in current prices). Between 1963 and 1967 Poulson paid Smith £156,000 – £5,400,000 in current prices. To manage this public relations work (which continued throughout his period as leader of Newcastle City Council, and supplemented his earnings from the painting and decorating work) Smith created a set of limited companies. There were eventually more than 30 of these, in a structure that is reminiscent of that deployed by Robert Maxwell. To help him run this intricate network Smith hired a number of staff, a key figure being Mike Ward, an employee of the Greater London Labour Party, chief whip of the Labour Group on the London Boroughs Association and a councillor himself in the London Borough of Havering.4 Through his extensive Labour Party connections, his tireless advocacy for the north east and his public relations work, Smith met George Brown MP. In October 1964 Brown, deputy leader of the Labour Party and newly appointed as Minister of Economic Affairs, offered Smith an important position at the Department of Economic Affairs. Smith declined – but accepted the role of Chair of the Northern Economic Planning Council, believing that this would be a better use of his time than working – essentially – as a civil servant in London. To facilitate his new role in 1965 he resigned from Newcastle City Council. Later Smith came to regard this as a miscalculation. It turned out that Brown had little real power and when, in October 1966, the Northern Economic Planning Council published its report Challenge of the Changing North, advocating regional government and a massive decentralisation of power across the UK, there was indifference and hostility at the highest level; and despite Smith’s contacts ‘at Court’, no lever that he could pull to ensure his objectives. He fought on and peaked in 1968. On 18 March that year Smith was guest of the week on ‘Desert Island Discs’, a kind of anointment, confirming his importance as a public figure. He chose the usual set of classical records, and threw in a piece 4 Mike Ward was in the ‘Gaitskellite’ group within the Labour Party. He later sat as Labour MP for Peterborough (1974-1979) during which period he served as a PPS to Reg Prentice and William Rodgers. He left the Labour Party in 1981 to join the SDP. His daughter is Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View since 2005. In the 1964 election Smith put his resources at the disposal of the Labour campaign and claimed – after the very close result – that he made a significant difference to the outcome in a number of marginal seats. He may have been right. by the British jazz pianist Michael Garrick to demonstrate his love of contemporary arts. Later that year he hosted the opening of the Newcastle Civic Centre (by King Olaf V of Norway), a building that Smith had ensured was designed to act as a Regional Parliament.5 Nemesis In late 1969 Poulson was declared bankrupt. Smith no longer worked for or with him at this stage but details of their working arrangements came to light during the very extensive hearings that followed. Initially Smith was charged in January 1970 with corruptly procuring a building contract for Poulson in the London Borough of Wandsworth. He was acquitted of this offence in July 1971. It then emerged that in 1966, when Poulson was anxious to bring on side Alderman Cunningham, a very prominent and powerful figure in the Labour Party in the north east, Smith had agreed that one of his companies could ‘employ’ – the work involved was actually nonexistent/ meaningless – Cunningham’s wife. The money for this arrangement, which lasted 3 years, was passed from Poulson, through Smith to Mrs Cunningham, who was paid in her maiden name, presumably to conceal the matter. In late 1973 Cunningham, Poulson and Smith were charged with corrupt practices. Recognising clearly that a second acquittal was unlikely, Smith pleaded guilty in April 1974 and was – to his surprise – sentenced to 7 years in prison. His career was over. For the remainder of his life, protesting a little bit too much, Smith bemoaned that his only real ‘mistake’ had been to ‘employ’ Mrs Cunningham. Alderman Cunningham emerges here as a formidable and unsavoury figure: a Labour councillor in Felling, Gateshead 5 The Council Chamber at Newcastle Civic Centre is designed to accommodate 139 Members, far too many for the local authority, but sufficient for a Regional Parliament. The possibility that getting the King of Norway to open a major building rather than a UK royal would have put a number of establishment noses out of joint is not considered by the author. It can hardly have helped Smith. Similarly Smith was very active in a number of European local government organisations – such as the International Union of Local Authorities, whose conference he attended in Prague in April 1969. from 1939, a county councillor from 1946, and simultaneously holding positions as chair of the North East Regional Airport Authority, chair of the Wear and Tees River Board, chair of the Tyneside Passenger Transport Area, member of the Aycliffe New Town Board, member of the Peterlee New Town Board, chair of the Durham County Police Authority, regional secretary from 1964 of what is today the GMB union, member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee and treasurer of the Labour Party. During the final débacle with Poulson, Cunningham used his power and influence within the Labour Party to block calls for an enquiry and also to deselect anyone unwise enough to publicly call for this.6 The notes of his questioning by the police – in which he gives completely deadpan and minimalist replies to all enquiries – are particularly repellent, especially as he served as chair of a Police Authority. Despite this, after his release from prison in 1977, Cunningham was still held in sufficient regard by prime minister James Callaghan (who employed his son Jack Cunningham MP as his PPS while Cunningham Snr. was in jail) to be visited for afternoon tea. Smith emerges in a somewhat kinder light. The author makes the point that Smith, Poulson and Cunningham were all prosecuted as individuals rather than the companies they controlled being pursued as corporate bodies, as British Aerospace has been in recent years. This is a weak argument. The law will always regard some companies – particularly private limited companies – as being effectively controlled by the individual directors. Hence the individuals are held responsible for significant misconduct. On the other hand the author is quite right to point out the iniquity of Sir Keith Joseph MP and Reginald Maudling MP, who both had very extensive and profitable dealings with Poulson, emerging unscathed 6 A particular target was Eddie Milne, MP for Blyth Valley, who was deselected by his CLP on the eve of the February 1974 general election for backing calls for an enquiry into the Poulson–Smith– Cunningham dealings. Ironically Milne had earlier been a ‘war resister’ and ILP activist with Smith. from this particular episode.7 It could also have done with being spelt out a bit more clearly in the narrative that working as a lobbyist, which is now commonplace across the entire political and governmental machine, in our recent past was looked upon as a very dubious activity. Would any lobbyist today be sent to prison for 7 years? Although T Dan Smith had a finely judged and accurate view of how the UK establishment works (and had a fully formed set of policies to address this), it is hard not to agree with the view of John Halliday, a solicitor in the north east, on p. 287 of this book: ‘I believed him to be guilty. But I found it very difficult to dislike him.’ Ken This is an enormous doorstep of a book – over 700 pages – and Livingstone’s first full attempt at an autobiography. He relies heavily on previously published accounts by John Carvel and Andrew Hosken while providing some additional embellishments of his own. The book is written in a matter-offact and chatty saloon bar style and reads rather like a somewhat one-sided conversation with a taxi driver. The narrative of his Lambeth childhood in the ‘50s is pleasing; there is some fresh detail about his trip across Europe to Nigeria in 1966 (he kept a journal which is quoted extensively here) and much on his zoological interests; but in many other respects the account is anodyne and somewhat selfserving.... like most politicians’ memoirs. Perhaps because Livingstone is now quite elderly, he also mentions various illnesses and ailments suffered by him and his family more often than one would expect in a political book. On reflection this might be considered not so much a political work as an example of that contemporary phenomenon, the celebrity autobiography. 7 Reginald Maudling managed to avoid censure for activities that ought to have brought him into disgrace, or even sent to jail. He resigned as Home Secretary in 1972 due to his own connections to Poulson. In July 1977 he narrowly avoided expulsion from the House of Commons following an enquiry about his dealings with Poulson and the award of construction contracts in Malta. Minor details This feels like a selective and tactical attempt to head off adverse publicity in the run-up to the 2012 London Mayor election in which Livingstone is, again, the Labour candidate. We learn that his uncle, also confusingly named Kenneth Livingstone, was a very active member of the Conservative party in Streatham and later joined the National Front. We are also told that Livingstone agreed to father children by two female members of the Labour Party in Brent in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. This was alluded to in 2007–2008 but further details at that point had not emerged.8 Amongst the many issues that are not clarified or expanded upon by him are: * whether or not he had any significant involvement in the Young Conservatives; * the identity of his first fiancée (mentioned on p. 69 as someone he knew circa 1966-1968 – did he meet her via the Young Conservatives?); * his time in the Trotskyist and Reichian group Solidarity in the late ‘60s; * his expulsion from the Lambeth Labour Group in 1972 and how he managed to wangle his reinstatement; * precisely when and how he met Gerry Healy and Ted Knight; * when his ambition to become leader of the Labour Party first emerged; * how – in detail – he expected to realise this ambition; * how the Trotskyist group Labour Briefing operated; * how much (if anything) he knew about Libyan funding of Labour Herald, the paper that Gerry Healy printed and Livingstone and others produced;9 * when he first met Socialist Action and how that group 8 To date none of Livingstone’s ex-partners (the unnamed ‘60s fiancée, Christine Livingstone, Kate Allen) have published ‘kiss and tell’ memoirs. It would be interesting to read their version of these events. 9 The probability that documents detailing the Gaddafi-Healy link comes to light in the next few months must be quite high. operates (their existence is not acknowledged anywhere in the text); * how much he was involved in the appalling antics that wrecked the Brent Labour Party after 1980; * and a whole slew of other now forgotten campaigns that he concentrated on while a backbench MP in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It may be that he considers that it would not be in his interest to expand on any of these matters. Livingstone does describe the disputes that wracked the Anti-Racist Alliance in the ‘90s.10 This occupies a single page in the book. What is not mentioned is that the core of the dispute was the attempt by Livingstone, Diane Abbot MP and Socialist Action to take over the ARA. Why was it so important for them to control the anti-racist agenda? Livingstone says it was because of a need to campaign against racist attacks in London. Has he always been consistent about his? Consider, for instance, the New Cross Fire in which 13 young black people were killed – long considered to have been the result of an arson attack, and possibly racially motivated. The inquest into their deaths took place at County Hall in May 1981. There is no mention at all of this in the book – though in May 1981 Livingstone could perhaps be forgiven for missing the event given that he was then fully occupied (at County Hall) in the coup that removed Andrew Mackintosh as leader of the GLC. The reader may also reflect that it is curious that Livingstone, Abbot and their little band of Trotskyist foot soldiers focussed on the case of Stephen Lawrence whilst being absolutely silent about Damilola Taylor, a young black victim of one of the large number of nasty black gangs in London. They are certainly very careful and selective about which issues and cases they campaign on. Of some interest are Livingstone’s views on economics. Unlike most MPs he took some time and trouble to acquaint himself with a working knowledge of how the UK economy 10 A colleague who participated in this as part of what Livingstone would regard as ‘the wrong side’, described this to me as the most traumatic and upsetting political episode in which he had ever taken part. works, how it compares with other similar countries and how it might be improved to general benefit. In an extremely general sense most of his views are correct – but he then falls flat on his face when citing a specific example. He says that France increased its prosperity and moved ahead of the UK when De Gaulle cut French defence spending by 40% and invested instead in major domestic infrastructure projects and social spending. This is not true. De Gaulle actually insisted that France have a completely independent and domestically produced nuclear deterrent (at significant expense), detached France from NATO, closed the US bases in France, maintained National Service and a string of extensive military facilities in Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Today France has all of these things – as well as more tanks, soldiers, ships and aircraft than the UK – while apparently spending less on defence than the UK. Why is this? Perhaps they account for ‘spending’ differently. Perhaps we get very little value for money, particularly the costs of working in tandem with US requirements on everything. Although cutting defence spending may be an effective tactic for rallying ‘the left’ behind one when standing for office, simply cutting defence spending isn’t an economic panacea. Livingstone doesn’t do complicated arguments. There is very little generosity in this book. In his account of events Livingstone is always correct or vindicated by events. People who disagree with him are all written off as ‘terrible right-wingers’, although some are magnanimously allowed by him the dispensation of being ‘an intelligent rightwinger’. He also claims credit for many things – most notably the original GLC plan to cut public transport fares – that he had little real involvement with. At various points the tone veers into anger. His defeat in the ballot to choose the Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2000 (p. 404) is something he finds particularly outrageous and is worth quoting: ‘Realising they couldn’t win without fraud, Dobson’s supporters – without his knowledge – encouraged MPs to call on party members to collect their ballot papers. Members could vote by phone or post. When MPs or their staff turned up on the doorstep helpfully offering to collect ballots, members innocently handed them over. The MP could then open the envelope, reseal it if it was for Frank, but if for me they could use the identity code and phone the vote in for Frank. The worst example of theft was by Southall MP Piara Khabra, who boasted that he personally had collected 300 ballots. After I was readmitted to the party in 2004 one Labour MP told me “that was only the half of it’’....’ Really? Who were ‘Dobson’s supporters’? Which MPs did they encourage? Which among them interfered with the ballots? Note that he specifically blames Piara Khabra, but only says he ‘collected 300 ballots’, not that he interfered with them. Who told him about any of this? Which MP made the statement in 2004? Did Livingstone know about these supposed activities in 2000? Did he tell the police? Reading this type of stuff carefully, it is clear Livingstone has no proof of anything – only that he didn’t (and doesn’t) have the support of the majority of Labour Party members in London, something he considers so odd that it can only be explained by the existence of a conspiracy against him. Piara Khabra died in 2007, and therefore cannot sue. Many of those mentioned unflatteringly in the book are similarly deceased. The bigger picture And’s not all bad. Within the vast amount of text describing Livingstone’s rise through local government and especially in the final 40 pages, a number of points are made. It emerges that Ken isn’t really left-wing at all. We learn that the KGB looked at him in the ‘80s and concluded that he wasn’t a Trotskyist. When he was mayor of London the mayor of Berlin concluded that none of his proposals were in the least bit radical by German standards. He provides some additional material on the nature of the Blair-Brown years that chimes with much that has now appeared. He concludes that the only policy Blair, Brown and Mandelson had worked out in detail prior to 1997 was how they would deal with the media.11 He argues in favour of devolution of power to regional government, integration with the EU and a different approach to how public spending is categorised. He despairs of the Labour Party, acknowledging instead how much better he found John Major as a political leader. It is hard not to agree with him on many of these matters. But what legacy does Livingstone now leave? Local government is significantly less resourced than when he won his first election in 1971. Regional government has not been adopted across England, and even in regard to Wales and London, the model chosen by Labour in 1998-1999 has few of the powers enjoyed anywhere else in the world. He introduced cheap public transport fares in London in 1981 – but we now have the most expensive public transport in the world. He did not become leader of the Labour Party. He did not become prime minister and held no significant position in his 14 years as an MP. The UK is not part of the Euro Zone and remains an irritating, semi-detached member of the EU. Public spending limits are still determined by Treasury fiat. Ken is now in his late 60s and his Socialist Action and Labour Briefing colleagues are similarly ageing. When he dies he has no obvious successor as the central figure in the ramshackle coalition of ‘the left’ that he fronts; it has always been heavily about him and his own ambition. It is hard not to conclude that he will leave no legacy. Losers? Comparing both these books, with all their faults, one wonders if T Dan Smith and Ken Livingstone are just examples of losers in UK politics. T Dan Smith was clear that you had to get the Whitehall mandarins out of the way if the UK was to achieve real progress and prosperity. The Home Counties/civil service-based parliamentary dictatorship had to be broken. Regional government, on the European model (though it could equally emulate that in the US, Canada, Australia etc,) was 11 Another way of looking at this would be that Blair/Brown/Mandelson did have a clear (and simple) policy: they would not antagonise any powerful interest groups. essential. Investment on a level that would never be agreed by the Treasury was the ideal. To the end of his life Smith tirelessly (and fruitlessly) advocated these views. Livingstone appears to be similarly disposed. So, too, was Edward Heath, another loser in the English system. Michael Heseltine also espouses this approach – and never became leader of the Conservative Party. George Brown and his team at the DEA in 1964-1966 thought the same. All have come to nothing. Perhaps Alex Salmon will succeed in Scotland in the near future where they have failed. From the vantage point of 2011 it is striking how successful the English establishment has been at keeping power.....a point of view with which many hard leftists such as Gerry Healy (who knew both Smith and Livingstone) would have started all their arguments 70 years ago. Simon Matthews